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Friday, January 14, 2011

They'll just change the rules

Inflation or deflation ahead?

Why, after the bursting of a massive credit bubble, do losses from defaulted debt go unrecognized? How is that we simply continue to hum right along?

Chris Martenson explains in, "Don't worry, they'll just change the rules":

"Suppose, for the sake of argument, that there is a world in which banks are allowed by their regulators to pretend their default losses simply do not exist. And, even more outlandishly, some of these banks are allowed to sell heavily damaged loans to their central bank at nearly their full original price.

What does "deflation" mean in such a world? Not much, as it turns out. At least from a monetary perspective, because money is not being destroyed at nearly the rate that would be expected or predicted by the size and rate of the defaults.

This is the world in which we currently live. Trillions in probable and provable losses quietly exist, out of sight, on the balance sheets of the Federal Reserve and other financial institutions. If they ever come out of hiding and onto the books, I think the deflationists will be proven correct beyond all doubt..."

Which brings Martenson to his next point: the "extend and pretend" game which favors the "too big to fail" (TBTF) banks is part and parcel of the trend towards changing the rules of the game at will. In this framework, what should happen may not transpire at all, or at least not for some time.

"...The theme here is simple enough: If and whenever the circumstances justify a major response, existing rules will be changed, altered, bent, or broken.

Because of this, I routinely argue that what should happen won't happen, at least not right away, and that there's really no such thing as investing anymore, only speculating -- unless you are a big bank, favored by the Fed, with advance information..."

Check out the full piece to hear why the rules of the game are constantly changing, and why we're all speculators (as opposed to investors) now.