Updated: Sep 26
Men in the city are awakening. Since May of last year I have issued several public warnings on LinkedIn, Twitter spaces, at conferences, basically appealing to anyone who cared to listen. The following essay is a more muscular forewarning of what I believe will unfold this Autumn, the Fall of Tyrants.
The modern world centered in American mainstream culture exhibits two fatally self-destructive traits – arrogance and insecurity. Both undergird the reactionary narcissism of the crumbling Gerontocracy, their Beta-Tyrant puppets, and the benumbed normies whom they rule. A condescending dismissiveness has become the institutionalized ethos within its ranks: the atheists and Antifascists, the academics and celebrities, the betas and bureaucrats, the privileged and powerful, the warmongers and wokesters. The Praetorians of Clownworld smirk at the ill-remembered tragedies that befall the prideful. They have forgotten man’s limitations, his lack of control over the fortunes of men, the power of divine providence, and the mystical conjuring of great kings and mass movements who emerge spontaneously to change the fate of civilizations. Such pride is soon to be humbled as it always is.
The Praetorians of Clownworld smirk at the ill-remembered tragedies that befall the prideful.
There is no convincing those who refuse to unplug. That the world is in the throes of profound and spectacular change, that the fireworks of civilizational transformation are beginning to light up the sky is lost on them. Evidence of breakdown is dismissed: the explosion of urban violence from San Francisco to Paris, tent cities stretched across city blocks, the surge of Russian forces in Ukraine and Belarus, the global alliance of nations against the Washington Consensus, the revolt of young men against a decrepit society that discards them, tens of millions of migrants flowing with impunity like a tidal wave washing over Western shores etc. What remains is modern man unhinged and listless, floating on a skiff sailing into a hurricane, alone with no community, no nation, no God to save him. For the willfully ignorant, these are unremarkable atmospherics rather than the damning forensics of a World on Fire.
Modern man is unhinged and listless, floating on a skiff sailing into a hurricane, alone with no community, no nation, no God to save him.
Equally, there is a rearguard action against the disease of hopelessness. For some of the most informed and clear-headed among us there is an almost pious commitment to defeatism. These purveyors of doomsday are convicted that the fates conspire against us in the form of the arcane Tavistock institute, the WEF, the Frankfurt School, or the amorphous Deep State. The Doomers adamantly believe that a global elite of Bond supervillains are secretly piloting our path or initiating us through some inescapable process of destruction. The subterranean forces arrayed against us – they say – are insurmountable, they have gamed the system, accounted for every angle, mastered every move, and blocked all the exits. Sadly, such a fatalistic plot has become an emotional crutch that assuages the more disquieting reality that no one competent is helming USS Clown World. Indeed, those in charge beclown themselves because they are clowns.
Fortunately, tremors in the bond market will shake the tree of disbelief and unmask the historic buffoonery of Gerontocracy soon enough. In his must read A Short History of Financial Euphoria John Kenneth Galbraith bequeathed to posterity a powerful insight that every financial crisis begins the same way, with amnesia. Who remembers the details of past fiascos? That requires diligence, introspection, dexterity of mind, and careful analysis. It is far easier to abbreviate your understanding with grand schemes of planned demolitions executed with the precision of Ocean’s Eleven (see above). Forget the popular narratives that belie the murky waters and sloppy navigation that collapsed financial systems in sudden, unexpected waves of bungling calamity.
Every financial crisis begins with amnesia.
This time is no different and the bond market is ground zero. Despite smoke coming from the engines and the smell of kerosine in the air, the Gerontocracy says, “Damn the torpedo’s, full spend ahead.” Government spending is soaring to the high heavens, which means a flood of IOUs must be gobbled up on the double, and evidence suggests that is not happening. Bond yields are rising and rising and rising. Auctions are under duress in Japan, in Germany, in the UK, and the US, the four pillars of the global bond market, a market that is $133 Trillion deep (see below), 6x bigger than the New York Stock Exchange at a paltry $22 Trillion.
Minor, even infinitesimal movements in such a gigantic and structurally insolvent market are enough to trigger an avalanche, and yet we are witness to massive moves. Financial Armageddon was triggered last year when the Fed jettisoned 20-years of ZIRP and raised rates faster than at any time in 50 years. Importantly, the ECB, the BOJ, and the BOE mirrored the Fed’s actions and precipitated a meteoric rise in yields to levels unseen in decades. Volatility – the erratic movement of bond prices (inversely linked to interest rates) – is what will undo them. Erratic price swings will cause a "Global Margin Call" (See more here), meaning someone will be forced to sell large volumes of bonds and that will cause a cascading effect that will lead to more selling, and on, and on, and on until interest rates eclipse double digits and beyond.
Economies are human systems, they are highly sensitive to wild emotional swings few foresaw but in hindsight were glaringly obvious.
Signs of distress are being ignored and so are the consequences. The bond market implosion has been a long-time coming so complacency with recent spikes breeds cognitive dissonance. As writer Jonathun Blum says, “We as humans say one thing, we think another, and we actually do something else,” and since economies are human systems, they are highly sensitive to wild emotional swings few foresaw but were glaringly obvious in hindsight. Chaos Theory tells us that small attractors completely change the trajectory of the future something Dark Lord George Soros calls Reflexivity. Human systems, especially financial markets, move non-linearly, unpredictably, and often at light speed so in a flash euphoric mania mutates into mass panic. The inflection point has arrived.
Crisis is Decision
As bond markets wobble, governments around the world will soon be forced to react. Debts have piled so high that even tiny budget cuts will be extremely painful, affecting tens of millions of dependents, and utterly unsatisfying to creditors whose confidence has been irreparably shaken. As the wobbling spirals into hysterical oscillation, “risk-free” assets will become toxic and a stampede or fire sale will begin. Experts retort that if one bond market falters (say Japan) it could strengthen another (say the US), or possibly the reverse in a global flight to safety. Further, the experts insist that if German Bunds for example begin to liquidate at scale, the ECB or the Fed will quickly step in to reverse the damage. However, doing so would be an unambiguous public admission of insolvency in a sovereign market that will likely boomerang and only inflame further panic. The fire will spread.
Auctions are under duress in Japan, in Germany, in the UK, and the US, the four pillars of the global bond market.
Crisis is a Greek word (κρίσις krisis) that means “point of decision.” For the first time in their lives, the Gerontocracy will confront a crisis from which there is no easy escape. No verbal redirect or Orwellian talking point or blame game will work. The Fed’s battery of liquidity facilities will fall flat. The elderly will demand social security checks, the sick will demand Medicare insurance, government contractors will demand contracts, veterans will demand pensions, and the hungry will demand food stamps, and none will be had. Chancellors, Presidents, and Prime Ministers will hold press conferences only to be shouted down, pelted off the stage, or worse. Beta-Tyrants – weak men in positions of power – will be forced to resign. Tyrants will fall.
A power vacuum will ensue. A cleansing, a purge of successive generations of mainstream clowns will falter. As happened in the UK last year (see above), one Prime Minister will fall, then another, and another until the brittle backbone of these hollowed out shells of democracy will give. No one will believe it, just as no one believed a Great Depression was possible, or that a Great War would wreck the world. It’s too inconceivable, too unthinkable, too uncomfortable to prepare for or consider. Certainly, the Gerontocracy agrees, which is why the iceberg will sink them. After all, “revolution is impossible until it is inevitable.”
How Do I Know?
Let the record show that this Fall I believe the world will feel the gut punch of transformation. Most – if not all – of us will feel it. For those paying attention who know the game has already changed it will be less shocking but painful nonetheless. That said, why now? How do I know? Who am I to pontificate about the future? Perhaps I am deluding myself too. Maybe my inner consciousness desires the coming crisis because it holds some sense of poetic justice for me and others at odds with the “right side of history.” That could be. However, like most of us, I see cracks forming everywhere, I see the World Tree on tilt. What cannot go on forever does not is fortune cookie wisdom; what is more compelling is recognition.
My intuition tells me that this Fall something will break.
Over the last five years I have seen cracks in the legacy order around the world. I saw them in Hong Kong where millions poured onto the streets in the hopes that the British Union Jack would fly once again over the Government House. Millions more stayed at home in solidarity of a new global order. I saw them in Miami where instability in Argentina, Venezuela and across Latin America washed ashore in cash deals for condos or desperate Latinas scrambling for work visas to escape carnage back home. I saw them in the Czech Republic where protests against NATO intervention in Ukraine crowded Wenceslas Square. I saw them in France where poverty and crime ridden banlieues in the outskirts of Paris are spilling over into center-city Arrondissements.
I see them everywhere in the United States. I saw them on Skid Row in Los Angeles (see below) where dump trucks are deployed to scoop up debris, trash, and tents, sometimes with human beings still inside them, to clear the streets for a few hours before they revert to Dickensian squalor like someone trying to dry off in a swimming pool. I saw them in San Diego where tent cities are enveloping the downtown where I once lived. I saw them in New York City where violent crime is out-of-control and taking the subway might get you killed. I experienced the same in San Francisco where I felt unsafe as soon as I landed in the airport and hopped on the Bart (metro) to Mountain View. I see them in Washington DC where gunfights reminiscent of Mogadishu send neighborhoods running for cover (see the video).
These are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed by the sane and savvy. My speculation is simply that the world has already changed, and a financial denouement this Fall will alert the last to know, namely, the Gerontocracy and its plugged-in minions. Why this Fall? Certainly, there are alarming gyrations in bond markets around the world, recessionary and inflationary pressures alike but better to trust in pattern recognition. The rhythmic seasonality of the natural world also applies to men and nations. As I wrote back in March (read here), the fractals of financial crisis are more consistent than not. Bear Stearns collapsed in March 2008, Lehman fell six months later in September. My intuition tells me that this Fall something will break.
Financial calamity will bring an inversion.
Tyrants will fall and a new world will rise when they do. What is coming is not the end, rather it is the beginning for Men in the City. Financial calamity will bring an inversion: “What was last will be first, and what is first will be last,” say the Gospels. The awakened and engaged will prosper during these tumultuous times. Just as Siddhartha proclaimed to a wandering Brahman entranced by his Zen some two thousand years ago:
“What are you,” asked the priest, “are you a God? Some sort of magician or wizard?"
“No,” the Buddha replied, “I am awake.”