But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom's a joke
We're just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you're still free start running away
Cause we're coming for you!

- Conor Oberst, "Land Locked Blues"

It's hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it's the extent to which a vicious and corrupt oligarchy will go to further extend and entrench their economic and societal interests. Although the myriad desperate actions undertaken by the ruling class this past decade have managed to sustain the current paradigm a bit longer, it has not come without cost and major long-term consequence. Gigantic imbalances across multiple areas have been created and worsened, and the resolution of these in the years ahead (2020-2025) will shape the future for decades to come. I want to discuss three of them today, the financial system imbalance, the trust imbalance and the geopolitical imbalance.

Recent posts have focused on how what really matters in a crisis is not the event itself, but the response to it. The financial crisis of ten years ago is particularly instructive, as the entire institutional response to a widespread financial industry crime spree was to focus on saving a failed system and then pretending nothing happened. The public was given no time or space to debate whether the system needed saving; or more specifically, which parts needed saving, which parts needed wholesale restructuring and which parts should've been thrown into the dustbin. Rather, unelected central bankers stepped in with trillions in order to prop up, empower and reward the very industry and individuals that created the crisis to begin with. There was no real public debate, central bankers just did whatever they wanted. It was a moment so brazen and disturbing it shook many of us, including myself, out of a lifetime of propaganda induced deception.

It's ten years later and central banks still can't walk back anything they did over the past decade. It's why the ECB is pushing lower into negative interest rate territory and restarting QE. It's why the Federal Reserve is increasing its balance sheet as if we're in the middle of a depression.

Recent actions by the ECB and Federal Reserve make it clear that, despite protestations to the contrary, the financial system is more sick and vulnerable than ever. A system with a healthy, functioning structure doesn't require such interventions, but keeping this financial Potemkin village afloat is crucial to maintaining the key source of power and privilege for corrupt plutocrats, so no expense is spared. Nevertheless, these interventions makes the system weaker and more fragile than before, since they merely cover up ever increasing levels of corruption and fraud and permit more destructive behavior to continue surreptitiously under the surface. The current financial asset bubble on a global basis is likely the largest and most deadly in human history, and central bank actions of late seem to indicate they know this to be true.

While massive and global, the financial system imbalance is just one of several. Another big one is a trust imbalance, which manifests as a widening disconnect between established institutions and the people living under them. As the ruling class has been forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures over the past decade to keep their gravy train going, they've exposed themselves more explicitly. What was once derided as conspiracy theory rapidly becomes conspiracy fact, and an increasingly significant number of humans have begun to simply assume (for good reason) that whatever comes out of the mouths of authority figures like intelligence agencies, politicians, mass media, corporations and think tanks, etc., are lies.

This situation isn't getting any better either. It seems every day we wake up to new in your face revelations of how craven and dishonest the ruling oligarchy and its institutions really are. For example, this past weekend we learned how a Newsweek journalist quit because his bosses at the paper refused to let him publish about OPCW whistleblowers who dispute the official conclusion that Assad launched a chemical attack in Douma, an event that increasingly looks like a false flag event which led to the U.S. bombing Syria.

It was a busy weekend, as we also heard Nancy Pelosi admit she knew the George W. Bush administration lied the country into the Iraq war, but she somehow doesn't consider that an impeachable offense.

Finally, just yesterday we learned government officials have been lying about progress in the Afghanistan war over the course of multiple administrations.
The interviews were carried out by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction for their "Lessons Learned" intuitive; the head of SIGAR concluded that "the American people" were "constantly lied to" about the conflict to make it seem like America was making real progress in fixing the country. The Post report noted that Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump all conveyed these lies to ensure that the public perception of the Afghanistan war remained as positive as possible.
The national security state has forced the public to spend over $1 trillion murdering people abroad in the longest war in U.S. history based on government lies. The depressing thing is this isn't even shocking or surprising.

Meanwhile, nobody believes Epstein killed himself.

The trust imbalance between rulers and the ruled has become so massive it's all but guaranteed to detonate in a variety of unexpected and consequential ways in the years ahead. The election of Donald Trump was just the first pubic manifestation of this well deserved lack of trust.

The reason the corrupt oligarchy must constantly lie to the public is to convince us we live in a world that doesn't exist. We're not supposed to recognize the U.S. doesn't function as a constitutional republic, but as an imperial oligarchy. This knowledge is the forbidden fruit of empire the public must never taste.

As William S. Smith explained in his excellent article, Welcome To The Potemkin Village Of Washington Power:
Tufts law professor Michael Glennon points out in a recent essay in Humanitas that the Cold War brought something new and ominous in military-civilian relations. The national security bureaucracy became so large and omnipotent that the Madisonian branches of government became something like the British House of Lords, symbolically important but in reality without much power. The executive, legislature, and judiciary became a kind of Potemkin village, with real national security power lodged in, as Glennon describes it, "a largely concealed managerial directorate, consisting of the several hundred leaders of the military, law enforcement and intelligence departments." As this bureaucracy grew, Glennon argues, "those managers...operated at an increasing remove from constitutional limits and restraints, moving the nation slowly toward autocracy."

Glennon also points out that, prior to Trump, there was an unwritten pact between the bureaucracy and the Madisonian government: never publicly disagree. While national security policies have long been crafted and maintained by deep state bureaucracies, everyone played along and told the public these were the result of "intense deliberations." Yet a few people noticed that, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations, national security policies never really changed, intelligence operations were never disrupted, and even peacenik-seeming presidential candidates became warlike presidents. For decades, neither elected officials nor bureaucratic leaders publicly acknowledged that American national security policy was being run by what Glennon describes as a "double government," with elected officials largely impotent.
Not exactly what you were taught in school, and as more people start to recognize the disconnect between what they've been told and how things actually work, the trust imbalance grows. It's already at highly charged levels, and like financial system imbalances, could blow at any moment.

The other major imbalance I want to highlight is the geopolitical one. It's something I've been writing about a lot lately as it's come into clearer focus that the nexus of this tension will center around the U.S. and China. At the root of this imbalance is a U.S. national security state desperate to turn back to clock to the 1990s when the U.S. was the world's sole superpower and could essentially call the shots on all matters of international significance with little to no pushback. Certain foreign power centers, led by China and Russia, have made it explicit they will not be rewinding the clock and are have focused their foreign policy around ushering in a multi-polar world. Like the other imbalances, the geopolitical imbalance becomes more volatile and less manageable with each passing day.

Many writers and thinkers are doing a lot of good work analyzing these imbalances in isolation, but they need to be seen as interconnected parts of the same macro trend of paradigm disruption. These imbalances play off one another, and it's highly likely that when one blows the others will follow soon after. In other words, it's likely a future severe economic downturn will be coupled with civil unrest and heightened geopolitical conflict happening simultaneously. What sparks the chain reaction is unknown, but the 2020-2025 period is when it will likely occur.

Everything being done today centers around propping up and extending a decrepit paradigm in order to further enrich and empower a ruling class that has lost the respect of the people. As the actions taken to sustain such a system become more desperate and mendacious ("this is NOT QE"), the more the veneer of credibility disappears. The more the veneer of credibility disappears, the more unstable these major imbalances become. Generational change is on the horizon, keep your eyes wide open.