Source: PeakProsperity.com, by Adam Taggart
Trouble in paradise for the bankers
In our recent report, Banks Are Evil, we pulled no punches in making the accusation that the financial system is the root cause of injustice in today’s society.
It’s a good blood-boiler. You should read it if you haven’t already.
Its main premise is this:
In my opinion, it’s long past time we be brutally honest about the banks. Their influence and reach has metastasized to the point where we now live under a captive system. From our retirement accounts, to our homes, to the laws we live under — the banks control it all. And they run the system for their benefit, not ours.
While the banks spent much of the past century consolidating their power, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 emboldened them to accelerate their efforts. Since then, the key trends in the financial industry have been to dismantle regulation and defang those responsible for enforcing it, to manipulate market prices (an ambition tremendously helped by the rise of high-frequency trading algorithms), and to push downside risk onto “muppets” and taxpayers.
Oh, and of course, this hasn’t hurt either: having the ability to print up trillions in thin-air money and then get first-at-the-trough access to it. Don’t forget, the Federal Reserve is made up of and run by — drum roll, please — the banks.
With their first-in-line access to this money tsunami, as well as their stranglehold on the financial system that it all runs through, the banks are like a parasite feasting from a gusher on the mother-lode artery.
It should come as little surprise that, with all this advantage they’ve amassed, the banks have enriched themselves and their cronies spectacularly. They have made themselves too big to fail, and too big to jail. Remember that their reckless greed caused the 2008 financial crisis, and yet, in 2009, not only did bankers avoid criminal prosecutions, not only did the banks receive hundreds of billions in government bailouts, but they paid themselves record bonuses?
And the bonanza continues unabated today. By being able to borrow capital for essentially free today from the Fed, the banks simply lever that money up and buy Treasurys. Voila! Risk-free profits. That giveaway has been going on for years.
Couple that with the banks’ ability to push market prices around using their wide arsenal of unfair tactics — frontrunning, HFT spoofing and quote stuffing, stop-running, insider knowledge, collusion, etc — the list is long. James Howard Kunstler is dead on: we don’t have a free market anymore. Instead, we have rackets, run by racketeers. The rest of us are simply suckers to be fleeced.
But all is not roses if you’re a banker these days. Even within the evil machine, there is great disparity in how the plunder is being divided.
Bad Times For Bankers?
A guy I’ve known since childhood works on the ‘sell side’ (investment/commercial banking, stock brokers, market makers) and has been telling me how cutthroat things have become over the past few years. The pay structure and job security have deteriorated notably. And he says the same is true for many of his colleagues on the ‘buy side’ (hedge funds, asset managers, institutional investors), too.
Even with enjoying the “unabated bonanza” described above, even with the markets back partying at all time highs, things are getting worse for many bankers?
And while I personally can’t conjure any sense of empathy for these poor devils, it looks like things are going to get even harder for them.
So what’s going on here?
A Sign Of The End
What’s important about all this is not sympathy for the poor bankers who have to accept lower wages or a pink slip. Consciously or unwittingly, they’ve been foot soldiers for a cabal that’s done the greatest evil towards global human rights and prosperity over the past century. Personally, I’ll happily take a front row seat, open up a bag of popcorn, and delight in the schadenfreude of watching that industry collapse on itself.
What is important is what all this tells us about where we are in this story. We are now getting close to the end.
For decades and decades, more and more sharks found their way into the financial industry. And for decades and decades, there was plenty of prey for them all to feast and fatten on.
But now we’re at the point where there’s much less to prey on. So the biggest sharks are now turning on the smaller ones. Those at the top of the industry are trying to preserve their share of the pie — and if they have to do so by cannibalizing those below them on the org chart, so be it.
It has now become a shark vs shark world.
This is happening, mind you, at a time when the banks are in their 8th straight year of enjoying practically-free money from the world’s central banks, which is essentially a great wealth transfer from the public’s coffers. And at a time when financial assets have been re-inflated to all-time highs.
If things have reached this cutthroat a state when Wall Street is booming, imagine how much more gruesome this “eating their young” dynamic can/will become during a market downturn.
We’re at the point where those at the apex of power are becoming increasingly desperate to maintain their unfair advantage. And as the economic pie refuses to grow due to the twin overload of too much debt and declining net energy, these apex predators will turn on each other — first to maintain their spoils, and then simply to survive.
Things will get nasty in a hurry during that stage, as we warned about in our recent report: Positioning Yourself For The Crash.
While you still can, you want to make sure the bulk of your investment capital is positioned for safety, and you want to make your lifestyle as resilient as possible so that, no matter what jarring developments the future may bring, you and the ones you love are least impacted by them.
Read Full Article Here: Sympathy For The Devil? | Peak Prosperity