The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets

I was sent this by one of the authors in my email.

It's science-loaded -- and met with extreme resistance to publication.

Note carefully that the cost to the person who is given this path of treatment for metabolic syndrome (which incidentally either is associated with or leads to Type II diabetes!) is zero.

There were no drugs involved.  There is thus no sale of drugs involved, and no profit for the medical industry; indeed, study participants reduced their pre-existing use of pharmaceuticals.

This study was fairly large in size (n = 372) and showed incredible improvement not only in body mass but also in all of the major metabolic markers, including triglyceride levels, increase in HDL, decrease in LDL, lowered HbA1c and more.

What was the maintenance diet?

After reaching their target weight, a high-fat diet was used for weight maintenance. The use of a high-fat diet was predicated on the high prevalence of insulin resistance in the patient population and favourable changes in multiple health indicators in randomised trials of up to 2 years’ duration in such populations.[3] Foods consumed on the maintenance diet included beef, poultry, fish, eggs, oils, moderate amounts of hard cheeses, and small amounts of nuts, nut butters, seeds and berries.

In other words high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate.

Their "weight loss" diet consisted of restriction of both refined carbs and dietary fat, but I suspect the latter was not only unnecessary it limited performance in the weight-loss arena.

Nonetheless the results are impressive; average body mass loss was 12.8kg, BMI was down nearly five points (!!) and metabolic syndrome declined from 57.6% of participants to 19.4%!

Folks, that's two out of three of the study participants who began with metabolic syndrome no longer have it.

Oh, and it gets better.  PHQ-9 showed a commensurate reduction with metabolic syndrome.  For the unaware PHQ-9 is a DSM score measuring depression.  That's right -- approximately two out of three of those who scored high for clinical depression at the introduction of the study no longer were depressed either!

For those who say that LDL will "inevitably" go up if you eat high fat, the study says otherwise.  LDL decreased as did triglyceride levels.  Triglycerides decreased by nearly one third and LDL-C decreased by roughly 15%.

In point of fact the study almost-certainly understated the health impact.  Why?

Consistent with the considerable weight loss, participants at S1 showed marked improvements in their cardiometabolic profile. For example, blood triglyceride concentrations, measured among 119 participants at S1, decreased by 34%, probably a reflection of the reduced intake of starches and sugars.[3] Among the 18 individuals with T2DM in the LI at S1, there was a mean decrease in HbA1c of 0.5%, a figure that fails to account for any reductions in pharmacotherapy, which were not documented in this report. The extent of the changes in cardiometabolic indicators that were measured in this study are therefore a conservative estimate of the health improvements, as participants experienced reductions in the use of insulin and oral hypoglycaemic, antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering agents. To the intervention participants, the reductions in pharmacotherapy were an empowering ‘side-effect’ of the intervention, and for the clinicians administering the intervention, use of this therapeutic approach improved control of hyperglycaemia, hypertension and dyslipidaemias.

Read that bolded section until it sinks in -- the study participants reduced (or eliminated) already-existing pharmaceutical consumption at the same time they improved their metabolic markers and health because said drug therapy no longer "appropriate" (in light of symptoms) at its former rate of use.

In other words the study participants consumption of drugs was not a function of their body's inherent or progressive disorder; rather, the disorder they formerly experienced was caused by their elective choices when it came to what they ate, and when they changed that the "need" for said drugs was either reduced or eliminated.

They stopped poisoning their bodies and thus needed less (or no) "antidote", in short.

Wake up folks; the evidence is right here under your nose: Stop poisoning your body and it will heal.  As a result you will either need fewer or no pharmaceuticals if you do so, which means you never actually needed them at the level you're consuming them now -- and maybe not at all -- in the first place.

What to eat (and NOT)? Here's the list again, in case you missed it, and here is how you can personally measure your metabolic improvement at very little cost, in private, with nobody but you having the data.

You're welcome.

PS: As a "side effect" your pants will probably fall off.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

2016-08-12 00:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 361 references
 

What utter and complete crap.

'Carbohydrates can definitely aid your weight loss goals - you just need to know which ones to eat!' explains nutritionist Dr. Michelle Braude, founder of The Food Effect www.thefoodeffect.co.uk.

'Without carbohydrates, your body will hold on to excess fat because it’s lacking its main energy supply.'

'In actual fact, cutting out carbs can slow down your metabolism and the process of fat burning - preventing you from reaching your goal weight. Your body needs them to function properly.

'Don’t try cut out all starchy foods - it’s the biggest diet disaster and myth!'   

Total and complete crap.

First, I challenge this fraud to identify one carbohydrate that is essential for human health.  Just one.

You can't, because there aren't any.  There are no carbohydrate-exclusive sources of nutrients.  Zip, zero, nada, none.

Second, there are only three sources of nutrition: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

That's it.

Your body will not -- because it cannot -- "hold onto" fats if you restrict carbs.  What this quack is talking about is restricting total caloric intake to the point of starvation, but nobody in their right mind does that voluntarily.

'Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy for fuelling all exercise, including cardio and resistance training. Cut carbs and your energy levels will drop!

Argue with the clock.

The one right over the finish line.

'When you reduce your carb intake, you may indeed notice how quickly – as if by magic - the weight falls off,' says Dr. Braude.

'While everyone loves seeing the numbers on the scale go down and this may give you a great boost, it will soon plateau.

It stops -- not "plateaus" -- when you reach your natural weight.  A weight at which, incidentally, your gut is gone.  (If it's not gone I'll lay a bet you're cheating with fast and/or starchy carbs.)

'Once your body realises there’s a food shortage it goes into “starvation mode” and your metabolism will automatically begin to slow down in order to expend as little energy as possible. 

'But when you do begin eating carbs again (because such plans are unsustainable for the long-term), you pile on the pounds even more than normal as your whole metabolism and body’s ability to burn carbs has slowed down.' 

Unsustainable eh?  So when will that be evident to me?

It's only been roughly five years so far, and it seems rather sustainable to me.  Not only did my metabolism not slow down to "expend as little energy as possible" it has improved.

I am faster and better now in my athletic performance than I was 30 years ago and yet I eat virtually zero carbohydrate (typically under 50g/day) and often drop to very close to zero for several days before a race -- on purpose.

The other problem this crank has is that her "chart" of carbs ignores a few really important things.  See, glycemic index is indeed important but it is often misleading.  Far more-important is glycemic load.  Why?  Because a food that is dense (e.g. potatoes) may be moderate in glycemic index but due to its mass per unit of volume it's glycemic load is comparatively very high.

I also noted what was missing entirely from her "chart" -- leafy green things like broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.  Not only are they high in various nutrients they are low in both glycemic load and index, which makes them what your carbohydrate intake should consist of.

To say that restricting carbs means cutting out all carbs (as this woman claims) is utterly false.  What it in fact means is consuming your carbs in the form of said nutrient-dense but calorically-poor and thus extremely low glycemic load carbohydrates -- most of which are green vegetables of some sort (e.g. broccoli, spinach, etc)  And by the way if you eat your carbs exclusively from those sources (1) it's very hard to consume more than 50g of carbs a day, (2) it's essentially impossible to get material glycemic load out of your carb consumption and (3) you will get plenty of dietary fiber at the same time, so those who claim that such a diet is "poor" in fiber are lying about that as well.

Oh, and as for "wholewheat bread"?  It's not materially different in glycemic load than white nor is it materially lower in glycemic index either.  In other words that crazy "doctor" is dead wrong.

Further, while brown rice is better than white, it's actually higher in glycemic load than shortbread, graham crackers or even soda crackers!  Further, watermelon, while high in glycemic index (and thus on her "bad" list) is quite low in glycemic load because of it's low mass ex-water, being about one quarter of the impact of said brown rice!

Look, what this woman says about temporarily feeling like crap when you cut carbs out of your diet is true.  You will.

Then again it's also true that if you drink a lot and stop you will feel like crap too.

It's called withdrawal (or in the extreme case DTs!) and it sucks.

But if you undergo withdrawal when you stop consuming something, and it abates after a while then that's a pretty-reliable indication that you were addicted to said substance.  Now maybe that substance is very bad for you and maybe it's not quite so bad but let's call it what it is instead of BeeEssing people.

You're an addict.

Got it?

Good.

Oh, and cut the crap about low-carb eating being "unsustainable" and "horrible" for athletic performance.

You only need one counter-example to falsify such a claim and I'm sitting right here sneering back at your BeeEss.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Where are the political candidates on this issue?

After a Virginia toddler was bitten by a copperhead snake in his backyard last week, he was rushed to the hospital for life-saving medication -- but now his parents are facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

....

At Inova Fairfax, Auden endured 16 vials of anti-venom treatment at $3,000 each -- costing close to $50,000. That sum doesn't include his emergency room visit, medical transfer between hospitals and the three days he spent in the intensive care unit because of an allergic reaction to the treatments.

Three thousand dollars a vial?

Really?

How does something like this wind up costing $3,000?  I'll tell you how: Blatantly anti-competitive behavior that instead of being prosecuted (and is illegal, I remind you, under 15 USC) it is instead not only allowed but encouraged.

If you think this is limited to scorpion antivenom that is billed out at tens of thousands a dose when given in Arizona while the actual factory is in Mexico and it can be bought over-the-counter there for $100, or a case like this, with your excuse being that these sorts of events are "relatively" rare I will point you to this chart.

It's for glucose meters and their required test strips.  If you're diabetic you use the strips multiple times daily -- and there are a hell of a lot of diabetics in this country.

Note something very important: The strip price varies wildly, from about 22 cents/strip to $2 each.

All of these devices are required to meet accuracy requirements in order to be sold in the United States.  So how does the "market" manage to support a price range of 10x from the lower to the upper end when it comes to operating costs, since virtually all of the units themselves are right around $20?

It's not very hard to figure out -- as long as so-called "insurance" is paying for it you don't care about the price of the strips you use and thus whatever your "insurance company" or "doctor" hands you will be what you use.

Of course the manufacturer would like to sell you strips for $2 instead of 22 cents, especially when you're using many of them a day!

But were there no cost-hiding games, no "incentives", and you had to fork it up there would be no $2 strips nor any meters that required them because nobody would buy them.

If we prosecuted all of these anti-competitive acts, which I remind you is something we can do today since there is an entire US Title (15 USC) that bears on same, this area of cost in the medical system just like that when it comes to antivenom and similar would plunge in price to anywhere from 1/4 to 1/9th of what it costs today.

This, and only this, is what is destroying our federal, state, local and pension budgets.  It is the issue that will destroy our nation's way of life and standard of living within the next five years if it is not addressed now.

We were told that Obamacare would "fix" this.  That was a lie; several years into Obamacare Medicare and Medicaid are still expanding at roughly 9% a year while tax receipts government-wide are rising at about 1.7%!

There is exactly zero real policy attention being paid to the issue by any of the current office-holders or announced candidates -- whether they be Democrat, Republican or any other party, including the so-called "Libertarians."

That is occurring because you, dear reader, are not demanding that it change -- here, now, today, and without excuse.

As a consequence please do enjoy the next few years of "relative normalcy" in the United States because that is about to end, and you will not recognize, nor like, what is going to happen as a direct and proximate result of your refusal to focus on the issue that faces us as a nation when it comes to economics, politics and fiscal health.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

The recent "reported turmoil" with Trump's campaign is one of the most laughter-inducing things I've seen the media "report" over the last several years, along with one of the most-corrupt.

Let's deal with the corrupt first.

The "dust-up" began with Trump going after Khan after, I remind you, he spent his entire speech at the DNC attacking Trump.

When you get up on a national stage and inject yourself into the political process you are fair game and so is everyone you bring with you.

This is especially true when you are lying through your teeth and have a dubious history -- including recent history.

Specifically, Khan is an attorney who has previously written in a law journal on the "purity" of the Quran and Sunnah.

It is due to this that Khan writes, “to Muslims, the Quran being the very word of God, it is the absolute authority from which springs the very conception of legality and every legal obligation.”

Every legal obligation?

There it is, folks.  Oh sure, CNN has said that he "doesn't" support Sharia law, but his own words say otherwise.  If every legal obligation arises from the Queeran, then no obligation in conflict with it is lawful in his mind.  This is in direct conflict with our secular government; The Constitution, not Sharia, is the supreme law of the land -- and attempting to change that by any means other than amendment (good luck) is an act being taken by an enemy of the nation.

Is that bad enough?  Well, actually, no, that's not the end of it.  There are allegations that he has ties to Muslim Brotherhood and..... drum roll please... Saudi Arabia.  If true that makes things even worse, but it doesn't have to be true; Khan has by his own words disavowed the legitimacy of our Constitutional Republic!

But let's get right down to brass tacks -- why would he want to attack Trump?

Well that one's easy: He runs a law firm that specializes in, among other things, E-2 and EB-5 Visa programs that allow overseas investors buy into US companies and essentially buy US citizenship and green cards.  They are widely-regarded as massively abused and rife with fraud by a number of academic and political critics (myself included.)  His presumed clientele for same is largely comprised of wealthy (oil-rich) muslims from nations that are implicated in fomenting or sheltering islamic terrorism.

Trump would likely slam the door on such immigration -- and with good cause.  Gee, that wouldn't be bad for (his) business, would it?

Did the media note any of this or call him on the apparent rank hypocrisy?  Nope.

Not.
One.
Word.

Oh, and once this started getting around on the Internet?  His website, kmkhanlaw.com, was blanked -- presumably to try to prevent that from becoming the story.

But the Internet Wayback Machine (which archives sites) had copies, and what did it say?

Areas of Practice

  • Complex Litigation Electronic Discovery
  • HIPAA Compliance & Audit
  • E2 Treaty Investors, EB5 Investments & Related Immigration Service

I hate it when "nothing you say or do on the Internet ever really disappears" happens.....

smiley

By the way, that required all of about 30 seconds of effort to find too.  Would it really have been that hard for some media outlet -- if there were any in the country including Fox who aren't in the tank for Clinton -- to look into this and report on it?

Now let me be clear: Khan's son, who died serving our nation, is a hero.  He wrote a blank check to Uncle Sam for any amount up to and including his life, and he got cashiered.

But just as I do not implicate a son in the deeds of his father I do not implicate a father or mother in the deeds of his or her son!  Neither is entitled, either under the law or otherwise, to bear the cross or enjoy the accolades of the other especially when they insert themselves voluntarily into the political process.  Indeed perhaps Khan's son went into the military to assuage his own guilt at being the son of a man who was rampantly abusing the US legal system or even arguably laying forth a claim that Sharia was superior to the US Constitution!

As soon as Khan attempted to trade on the death of a man who clearly believed none of the above on the stage of the DNC his blatant, raw and outrageous hypocrisy, along with that of his wife who played the "religious submissive wife" role on stage (but has been photographed in common American-style street clothes and thus it can be reasonably concluded that too was a ruse) became fair game.

Oh, and by the way, banning immigration for certain classes of people is Constitutional.  Go ask Jimmy Carter who did exactly that during the Iranian Hostage "incident", and I bet you can figure out what class he banned too.  Let me help you: 

Fourth, the Secretary of Treasury [State] and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly.

Should you believe this was an abstract issue to me it most-certainly was not; I had a very close personal friend who is Iranian at the time this occurred.  If he had left the United States for any reason during that time he could not have re-entered and he had (quite-valid!) concern that he might be forced to leave.  Let me remind you that as a young man at that time had he been forced to return to Iran the odds were extremely high (essentially 100%) he would have been conscripted into the military and a huge percentage of such conscripts were killed in action during the Iran-Iraq war which was, I also remind you, raging at that time.  There are those who say this ban and what Trump has proposed are not similar; I say bee-ess.  Trump has said he intends to stop said immigration until the nation is capable of properly vetting those who come into the country for malicious intent.  Carter imposed this ban on persons who he had no rational belief might hold personal malicious intent as a means of pressuring the Iranian government into releasing unaffiliated hostages!  If anything Carter was the one who acted with improper motive as there was nothing a young Iranian coming here to study could do to change his or her government's course of conduct and said sanction had exactly zero economic or political impact within the government of Iran!  But the fact of the matter is that both Carter's action, and Trump's proposed action, are Constitutional and within the proper exercise of Executive Department power.

In short what's outrageous is not that Trump punched back after being attacked by a slithering snake on the DNC stage who was lying through his teeth it is that both the media and Republicans have come to the snake's defense instead of excoriating both the DNC and Hillary personally for putting such a self-interested and obvious potato sack full of crap up on stage to run an intentionally-false narrative for the cameras.

All are nothing more than a den of viperous bastards.

And isn't that, really, when you get down to it, the real issue here?  Isn't that the issue across the political and legal spectrum in this country right now?

How about Buffett?  IMHO that fat rat ought to be in prison. If you recall his so-called "investment" during the depths of the panic in 2008/09, more than $26 billion worth, received nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars in support from the government between TARP and FDIC debt-backing!  To put this in perspective some three quarters of said debt had that guarantee, without which it was likely worthless.

Even better he traded the very bailout for which he lobbied.  How is this sort of thing legal and not a violation of insider-trading laws?  Gee, is it any surprise he wants Hillary in office?

Speaking of which think about all the others who are crapping in their pants about Trump possibly winning in one form or another, whether Democrat or Republican.  Ask yourself this question: How many of them have woken up in a cold sweat in the middle of a nightmare -- the FBI kicking down their door and leading them away in handcuffs on charges for which the Statute of Limitations has not yet run.

Let's be real about all of this: The only reason Hillary Clinton wants so badly to be President is that it will insulate her, Bill and Chelsea from anything they have done with their phony-baloney "foundation" -- acts that might otherwise lead to indictments, trials and prison.

And the likely reason the Washington Establishment, including those attached to it like Buffett and even so-called "Republicans" are "endorsing" Hillary is that should their shenanigans be looked into at any level of detail they are likely on the hook too for various acts and thus any non-establishment President is not only a threat to their ability to continue to rip you off in some fashion it's also a threat to their being able to continue walking around outside of a prison yard!

I've been asked to help some government folks with one small part of these issues of corruption, scheme and scam.  I've agreed to do so.  Why?  Because while I refuse to give blanket accolades or even respect to "cops" of any stripe based solely on their costume that doesn't mean that specific and individual law enforcement officials are not "good guys" or that they never do good work.  Of course some of them do and if I can help in putting some bad guys where they belong then, given that I seem to have a lot more time on my hands these days, why not?

As for why all this is important let's cut the crap folks and look at the economic facts -- the clear and present danger that such presents to our financial and economic stability as a nation.

Last year Medicare and Medicaid had an unbridled explosion in expense, as I've documented previously and which is a continuing pattern, not a one-year or two-year aberration.  This year, thus far through May, it has continued with the two programs up 8.93% in spending against this time last year.  And no, it's not just about people getting older; Medicaid block grants are up 5.5% this year so far.

Let me remind you that federal receipts (income to the government, which the rest of us call "taxes") this year are up only 1.68%.

That's a growth rate of spending on these two programs that is 5.3x that of tax receipts.

These two programs are 32.5% of the total expenditures of the government thus far this year; 1/3rd, almost exactly.  Social Security increased 3.2% over last year; and while that exceeds the tax revenue increases as well it is not Social Security that will blow up the government and the economy, it is the medical scam system.

Folks, at a nearly 9% rate of increase (last year's full-year increase was 9.25%, or statistically identical) within the next four to five years the federal budget will collapse.

It will collapse because Medicare and Medicaid will grow to require $1,830 billion ($1.8 trillion) or an increase of more than $500 billion annually within the next four years while tax receipts will only accelerate at present rates by less than half that amount. Social Security will consume a huge chunk of that revenue acceleration all on its own.  

This will blow a roughly $400 billion and exponentially accelerating deficit hole in the budget; a 10 year projection will show that hole to be not a $400 billion deficit hole but closer to $2 trillion annually.

That is, within 10 years Medicare and Medicaid will require more than $3 trillion annually out of $3.8 trillion in projected federal revenue.  Adding in Social Security will exceed all federal revenue.  There is no possible way to fiscally survive this event and within the next President's term it will be evident to everyone in the market for both government and private securities along with all business executives that this outcome is inevitable.

The market and economy will collapse when, not if, recognition of this fact occurs -- not when the actual wall is hit.

What's worse is that as I have pointed out for the last several years insurance companies are finally coming clean on how badly they're getting monkey-pounded on their bond ladders.  Put that out another 4-5 years with "ultra-low" interest rates and you're looking at a very real risk of a mass annuity-carrying insurance company collapse into the maw of the government's funding problems.

There is exactly one way to address this that can work, and that is to investigate and prosecute each and every aspect of the medical and insurance system that violates any part of 15 United States Code (Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman) or any part of consumer-protection law, including those laws requiring posted prices and both a requirement to provide and adherence to quoted prices before service is rendered.

Doing so would not be "free".  It would collapse medical costs in this country by as much as 80%.  It would also instantly remove 15% of GDP, which would be formally recognized as an economic depression and millions of jobs would disappear.

However, that aspect of GDP would be rapidly reallocated to other sectors of the economy and those jobs would follow.  The adjustment would be brutal and immediate, but it would bring a 15% improvement in every American's purchasing power, an immediate and permanent elimination of the Federal Deficit, real interest rates would go up, over time the resulting surplus and debt paydown would bring even more improvement to every American's purchasing power and it would reduce business operating costs by up to 20% which would make the United States the most-competitive nation among the developed economies when it comes to cost-of-doing business, even if there was no other tax relief or other policy change.

Good luck getting politicians -- or the DOJ for that matter -- on board with this.  When you are 20% of the economy your ability to threaten and bribe politicians is literally off-the-charts and without the Rule of Law constraining behavior that is exactly what has and will continue to happen right up until the lights go out.

Staving off fiscal and economic collapse, which is otherwise inevitable, is just part of the general issue our nation faces.  The foundation of all of this and more is far more simple and pervasive: Nobody ever goes to jail if they are politically or corporately connected at a sufficiently high level no matter what laws they violate and in fact they are rarely even arrested!

You want me to be "outraged" at Trump responding to someone who attacked him while running an intentionally false narrative and for both political and personal financial purpose?

Oh hell no.  Not while this den of thieves generally known as the US political, financial and medical system continues to thrive on fraud, theft and outrage.

Hillary Clinton is "just the tip", and this I say to her, along with the media, Paul Ryan, John McCain, the RNC generally and the rest of those who refuse to face reality:

Screw You.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Greg Hunter does a nice job, and asked me to appear -- here it is, embedded at the bottom.

The take-away from this, if you don't feel like watching the interview, is quite simple: Without the Rule of Law we have nothing, and our nation currently faces a critical fiscal emergency at the federal level just a few years down the road -- certainly, during the next President's term.

There is no way out of that box without taking on the medical monopolies.  None.

That's the math.

2009 / Obamacare was an attempt to "buy more time" along with protecting said monopolies from a market-driven incipient collapse.  This was rank public corruption on a grand scale, and it did nothing more than add a small amount of time, much like closing "watertight" doors on the Titanic when the water can cascade over bulkheads (as I expected it would and wrote on at the time) because all it could do is force more people onto a sinking ship.  The compound growth nature of federal spending on medical care has remained unaltered; it was not flattened to zero, or even to the expansion of nominal GDP.  Worse, the expansion rate for Medicaid, several years after its one-time expansion under Obamacare (in other words the one-time effects are gone), exceeds that of Medicare -- so those who claim the cost escalation is due to people getting older are lying through their teeth.

The bigger-picture issue, and the one that threatens to turn this entirely-predicted fiscal catastrophe (one that I've talked about for 25 years and written about pretty-much continually for the last 8 right here in The Ticker) into an economic and social disaster never before seen in America (but seen repeatedly in other nations such as Venezuela and Argentina!) is that innovation has effectively collapsed at the same time.

Why?

Because innovation is in the main about entrepreneurship; individuals setting up small businesses and taking "moonshot" risks.  The reason the USSR collapsed, and in fact every socialist or communist nation eventually collapses, is that without the dangling gold ring (no, folks, it's not made out of brass!) you can grab for and keep nobody has an incentive to take such "moonshot" risks with their own capital, whether that capital be intellectual or physical.

Today, if you're an "entrepreneur", you can open a coffee shop, a restaurant, or (provided you don't care about religious convictions) a bakery and your risks can be somewhat quantified.

But the corner coffee shop will never propel the nation forward on innovation.

Consider people like Edison, Bell, Crapper or even Ford.  All changed the world.  Edison made roughly 1,000 attempts before he hit the right combination for a working electric light.  Bell of course took the telegraph and turned it into the telephone.  Crapper, well, you know what he invented.  And Ford took cars from the realm of bespoke, hand-assembled devices that only the most-wealthy could afford and made them accessible to the common man.  These were transformative changes, not incremental ones.

What this nation needs is a lot of people like Edison -- or myself -- getting out there with projects that are highly innovative and risky.  The problem today is that if anyone who is politically or corporately powerful can ignore the law they can and will either step on the inventor or simply steal whatever is created despite such actions being illegal and there's nothing the person who did the inventing can do about it.  At the same time if an inventor tries to do the same thing to those very same big corporate and political people they will go to prison and be bankrupted.

This asymmetry was a material part of why I got out of the Internet business in 1998; in a rapidly-evolving industry when only a few "choke points" develop where such asymmetry exists -- and where those who can evade anti-fraud and collusion laws with impunity begin to coalesce and exert that power -- anyone without the ability to flaunt the law is at such a severe disadvantage the smart move is to reduce the value you have at the time to money and walk off the playing field.  Your only other sane option is to attempt to become large enough that you acquire that same immunity.  But at that time this asymmetry was much smaller than it is today.  Today it is literally in every line of business, everywhere.  For example I have utterly no reason to believe that if I brought to market the software that I have written to automate homes and save energy, a package that contains a fair number of innovative features some of which I've never seen in any other product, it would not be immediately stolen by some large corporation (whether in the US or not) and despite the fact that copyright infringement is a criminal offense the best I could do would be to try to sue at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars -- during which time my business would be destroyed.  As a result there is no logical reason for me to package and market that product, and while I have no idea if that is indeed one of those "moonshot" success stories (because it hasn't happened yet) it is exactly those moonshot attempts, only one of a hundred or so that bears out, that has provided essentially all of the true ground-breaking innovation in this nation over the last two hundred years.

Add to the recent record the insults of this nature since the 2000 tech wreck.  The intentional creation of serial bubbles, the intentional and retroactive "pass" given to the illegal Travelers merger and Greenspan by Congress and President Clinton, the intentional refusal to prosecute screamingly-obvious fraud that not only bankrupted millions of Americans but caused others to pay 50, 100% or 200% too much for property that was in fact worth a fraction of its ask during the housing bubble (a distortion that the government has intentionally rebuilt to a large degree in the 7 years since and now is just as much a threat to success as it was in 2006!), the serial nature of violations of the law by myriad large corporations, crimes which for the ordinary person (or not-big-company) would carry hard felony prison time and more.  Just look at companies such as Herbalife which recently admitted that its "recruitment" techniques were legally indefensible -- why would they have agreed to change said techniques if they were confident they'd win in court? Let me remind you that in 1967 the television series "Dragnet" featured a scheme in which recruitment (rather than retail sales of product) was the primary reason to get involved; the purveyor went to jail after a mathematician established that such schemes can never in fact produce the promised profits for any material percentage of the recruits because the number of people who must be recruited expands exponentially and quickly exceeds the population of the nation (or world.)  Here we are nearly 50 years later and guess what's still making the rounds?

Ask me, as an entrepreneur, to start a business under a set of laws that proscribe a particular set of behaviors and I'm fine with it; nearly all of these laws, in my opinion, are in fact good and fraud is bad.  But if you ask me to do so while competitors who are 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 times my size or have some patron in the political process allowing them to break every one of those laws without a single person going to prison or the company being shut down my response to a request that I take on that risk and innovate becomes this:

Without entrepreneurs -- people like myself -- there is no innovation.

There is no "next great thing", in the main.

Oh sure, there are exceptions that occasionally come out of large companies, but the rule still holds: If, as an entrepreneur, you cannot rely on recourse to the law and equal treatment among competitors then your incentive to take highly-speculative "moonshots" with your own capital is greatly diminished or destroyed.

The risk of the breakdown of civil society and rampant, lawless violence is very real as well.  I have written countless articles on exactly this point; if someone believes that when the lights come on behind them for speeding that they're going to be murdered by a cop possessing grossly superior firepower and armor instead of getting a traffic ticket then on a purely-analytical level an entirely-expected outcome when the lights come on is for such a person to shoot first!

Now let me be clear: The person who does the shooting is to blame, of course, for the simple reason that doing so is a naked act of lawless aggression.  It thus cannot be excused or condoned.

However, we as a nation and body politic are responsible for cultivating that man's belief that he's going to die because he was caught speeding.  We specifically cultivated that belief by allowing a cop to fire on an unarmed man in Miami with his hands up and not be immediately arrested on felony assault charges, as just one of myriad examples. The two ladies in the truck in California that had their truck riddled with bullets when Dorner was being sought, yet no charges were brought, is another.  Those who say there's no racial component to this sort of abuse have their head firmly planted up their ass; nobody amasses 50 traffic stops that are legitimate rather than blatant harassment in less than a decade yet still holds a valid driver license, but the guy who was shot in Minnesota indeed had said stops and a valid license, never mind that there is not one jurisdiction in this nation where a person suspected of a serious felony, as the cop's lawyer has alleged, is pulled over on a "routine" traffic stop protocol -- there is an explicit felony protocol for such cases and it exists precisely because if someone believed to have committed an armed robbery in fact did commit the crime they know damn well they're caught as soon as the lights come on and are going to jail -- see above for why that might lead them to shoot first if you give them a tactical advantage.  Duh.

But the real problem with our loss of The Rule of Law is not so much in the risk of the breakdown in civil order, and this is belied by simple statistical facts.

Even with the recent political screamfest about cops being shot, even with gangbangers on the street, even with the crime and violence we have today the murder rate has in fact shrunk tremendously over the years; in fact it stands at about half of what it was as recently as 1990 despite all the screaming by media outlets and politicians alike for "more" gun control and "more" monopolies on the use of force.  The facts just are; you're less-likely, statistically, to be murdered today (by anyone, whether you're a cop or not) than at any time since the 1960s.

No, the real risk when The Rule of Law disappears is the destruction of entrepreneurial reward, and the fact that the people you most want to engage in entrepreneurial activity are precisely those who have the intellectual and analytical firepower to look at the world around them, see this corruption for what it is and properly factor it into their risk:reward calculations.  They will, in ever-increasing numbers as the corruption increases, stick up the middle finger rather than innovate and take risk.

Without said entrepreneurs the fiscal mess staring us in the face will, as a matter of mathematical certainty, consume the nation.

THAT is the problem -- not cops being shot and the potential outbreak of civil unrest.

You, I and rest of the nation have the power to compel the return of The Rule of Law and prosecution of those who have and do blatantly violate its strictures even though they are currently "shielded" by virtue of being politicians, government employees, or the directors, officers and managers of large corporations.  We have the power to demand and enforce cessation of this lawless conduct best described as racketeering through lawful, peaceful and intentional inaction.  We can financially strangle those organs of government and thus all dependent on those that refuse to comply.  Since a tiny percentage of the population in fact produces virtually all real economic expansion if even a small minority of those people go on a general production strike, a perfectly-lawful act, continuation of the current state of affairs becomes fiscally impossible.

I will consider resuming my regular Ticker activity, or for that matter resuming being an entrepreneur, when I see evidence of said shift in attitudes and actions among the American population.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Main Navigation
MUST-READ Selection:
The Rule Of Law

Full-Text Search & Archives
Archive Access
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.

NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.

The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media or for commercial use.

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.