The story of these markets is a slumping economy and a debilitated middle class versus currency debasement and excess liquidity, selectively spread amongst friends.
And also an undercurrent of manipulation of prices and information, to extract wealth and shape perceptions.
The management of perception is a facet of government, always. To think otherwise is to naively ignore history and the practicalities of leadership.
But when that management becomes a more powerful and self-serving impulse than the written law, than the public good and the very fabric that binds people together into a society, then it becomes an end unto itself, an extra-legal excess, literally outside the law, that invalidates the legitimacy of what may have been an otherwise legitimate organization.
This phenomenon is most often seen in organizations with a long standing individual leadership by strong personalities, and an embedded bureaucracy that is excluded from effective oversight and the customary balances of power. One example of this is the late stage Hoover administration of the FBI, which began to turn in on itself and its own ends, and use its control of private information to control and subvert the political process.
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
Of course these herds of the misguided often have a thought leader whose own perspective, and sometimes even delusions, become an almost unshakable set of core assumptions expressed as slogans and tenets of fundamental belief, the center of the whole, the familiar and comforting orthodoxy, and trusted filters of knowledge for a profession.
In the case of the Fed, it is based on similar principles as the efficient market hypothesis and of dogmatic deregulation, which are the natural goodness and incorruptibility of a highly educated and privileged elite, not subject to transparency and oversight, public checks and balances. These fatally flawed assumptions have been the cause of much misery in the last 30 years.
Power indeed corrupts all, and their thinking, even in the well intentioned.
And this is what I fear the Federal Reserve is becoming, or more likely, has already become.
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