by Brandon Smith
We live in strange economic times, stranger perhaps than at any other point in history. Since 2007-2008, the globally intertwined and dependent fiscal system has suffered considerable declines in every conceivable area. Manufacturing around the world is in a slump, from Japan to China to Europe, with the minimal manufacturing accomplished in the U.S. also fading. Consumption is falling, most notably in petroleum and raw materials. Employment is truly dismal, with the U.S. posting over 94 million people as “non-participants” in the national work force.
High paying jobs are disappearing, and the only jobs replacing them are in the low wage service sector. This problem is becoming so pervasive that certain more socialist states including California and New York are attempting to offset the loss of sustainable income jobs by forcing retail and service companies into paying an inflated minimum wage. That is to say, states hope to stop the bloodletting in wages by magically turning low paying jobs into high paying jobs.
As anyone with any economic sense knows, you cannot have a faltering consumer sector in which people are buying less and force service based companies to pay their employees far more per hour than the job is worth. Those companies will simply lay off more employees, cut hours or shut down entire branches of their operations in order to maintain their profit margins. Either that, or those companies will go out of business.
One sector, though, has continued to reap certain benefits (for now), and that is equities. There is a good reason for this.