Spec Bubble II began to be created after the collapse in 2008 after the initial unwinding period occurred. When a speculative bubble collapses there's an initial unwinding period which occurred from the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2008 -- depending on the asset class -- into the 1st quarter of 2009 after which time equities reached a near term bottom.
Real estate did the same but didnâ€™t actually reach its bottom until a year later in 2010. Asset classes in general all reached a so-called "unwinding bottom" during the same time frame since global central banks pumped up the global "sugar" high of endless injections of cheap money in order to create a second speculative bubble.
The real reason the Federal Reserve is tapering off quantitative easing, while Europe and Japan are preparing whole new Q E packages is because the third leg of the stool, i.e., the people, are now sufficiently covered to sustain the bubble through increased debt. In fact a Time Magazine piece called "Americans are taking on debt at scary high rates" also underlines this notion (http://business.time.com/2014/02/19/federal-reserve-debt-bankrate-consumers-credit-card/)
Now the aggregate per capita debt levels in the United States are back to their March 2007 highs. This is an increase of debt to $11.5 trillion.
Margin debt, an important component which is not calculated to the overall debt level, which means the debt which people wearing their hats as investors to buy securities is now at an all time high, even higher than the 2007 peak.
Hence the growing bearishness about the ability of the current speculative bubble in equity prices and ultimately commodity prices as well.
The list of countries experiencing riots and revolution and civil unrest is almost endless. We are hearing more about Thailand and Ukraine because they're more in the news.
When it comes to global civil unrest, it's the number of buildings that get burned down or how many people get shot which becomes a feature on the evening news, since it is the easiest for the Western Unwashed and American Unwashed to get their minds around.
The unrest has occurred in the Eastern European nations as well as rioting in France, Belgium and the Netherlands gets far less coverage because to understand that unrest, you have to understand the economics behind it.
News coverage of civil unrest trails off sharply if the word "economics" or "markets" comes into the understanding what causes the people to riot, buildings to be burned down, and people to get shot waving around flags.
In a nutshell, the unrest being caused in Eastern Europe traces back to facts that were never addressed -- long-standing problems and core issues that have been papered over.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakup of the Soviet Empire, Eastern Europe was suddenly left with independent states that were dead broke because of Communist mismanagement.
It left them not only dead broke but with deteriorated infrastructures and essentially countries which became countries in name only in the post-1987 environment.
There was never a global consensus --because it would have been politically impossible at the time -- to recapitalize Eastern Europe by using Western money which was the only way it could be done.
That consensus was not reached because to reach that consensus you would have had to tell everyone the truth of what the Communists did in Eastern Europe. Why? Because of the knee-jerk reaction that Western taxpayers would have to come up with the trillions necessary.
For the rest of this column, click here -- Al Martin Raw
* AL MARTIN, author of "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider," is an Independent Political-Economic Analyst with 25 years of experience as a trader on NYMEX, CME, CBOT and CFTC. He is also currently trading the commodity futures market day and night and has a teleconferencing service to facilitate transactions in the markets. This is a service for independent experienced traders.
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