Trade wars are good, and easy to win.
– Donald J. Trump
POITOU, FRANCE – “War is the health of the [Deep] state,” said 19th century writer Randolph Bourne. Of course, war is also very costly and harmful to individuals.
As Ike Eisenhower – who led U.S. troops in the last successful government program of the 20th century, World War II – pointed out:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, and from those who are cold and are not clothed.
More than the financial cost is the expense in dignity, shame, and common sense. Every war since Eisenhower’s day has drawn down the nation’s meager stocks of intelligence and integrity; now, there is hardly anything left.
Each one required people to believe ever more preposterous and extravagant delusions; now, they are ready to believe anything.
We pause to reveal our strategy. We are preparing to connect some sinister dots.
Specifically, we want to explore how the tech industry got into bed with the Deep State, and what a monstrous offspring this union may produce.
In China, a “social credit” score is already being used to deny airline travel and even access to dating sites to people who get a low score in “civic virtue” for speaking against the government online or smoking in non-smoking areas.
And in the U.S., social media already “scores” both customers and businesses. If you don’t measure up to the standards of Airbnb, Rocket Mortgage, or Uber, you may not be able to rent an apartment, get a mortgage, or reserve a taxi.
Facebook, Google, and other Big Tech companies already police the internet for what they identify as “fake”… or perhaps merely inconvenient… news.
Amazon – whose owner also owns Washington’s “newspaper of record,” The Washington Post – has become a “death star” for retail industries, according to billionaire businessman John Malone. It now controls the vital space between what people want… where they get it… and how they pay for it.
Truck drivers are already controlled – both in terms of hours driven and speed – electronically. GPS technology already knows how fast we are supposed to drive. How long will it be before our speed is limited electronically?
And most recently, secret “spy hubs,” used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect and monitor billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats, have been identified in eight major U.S. cities.
Eye in the Sky
And now, the “eye in the sky” – all-seeing, all-knowing, all-controlling – slouches toward completion.
Say the “wrong” things… read the “wrong” things… visit the “wrong” websites… and you could find yourself disappeared… with no access to money, transportation, or communications.
“I’m sorry, sir, the transaction has been denied. I can’t tell you why.”
Which is a shame. Because in modern America, the only things worth reading are those that are marginal and largely disreputable – the very things the feds will ban as soon as they get the chance.
Are we “losing it?” Are we becoming paranoid? Or are they really out to get us?
Everybody knows that the feds played an important role in the funding and development of the internet. Al Gore even claimed he “invented” it.
Less well known is how the Deep State’s clandestine agencies provided early-stage financing for today’s Big Tech companies… and how they enjoy a cozy and mutually profitable relationship, controlling the flow of ideas, information, and opinions to the public… and preparing for the next stage: directly controlling its money… and its behavior.
Colleagues Dan Denning, Chris Lowe, Doug Casey, and Jeff Brown, who’s lived in the heart of Silicon Valley for most of his life, are on the case… Stay tuned.
In the meantime, let’s turn our attention back to the dots and see how the trade war connects to Deep State dominance.
“Us” and “Them”
In the private sector, win-win is the only way to go. Whether at home or at work, you get along and go along, one-to-one, face-to-face… You give… and you get… roughly in equal measure.
You say please and thank you, hoping to stay on good terms with your customer, your boss, or your spouse.
But politicians love wars, especially when they are cowardly, sordid, and phony. Since they produce nothing of value – that is, nothing that could be exchanged honestly for goods or services – they must bring out the brass knuckles and the head whackers.
Trade happens spontaneously between individuals, not between governments.
An individual customer buys a kettle from another individual, (or a voluntary collection of individuals, such as a corporation). There is no “us” involved. And no “them,” either, until the politicos get in on the act.
Trade barriers had been coming down for 30 years. During that time, U.S. manufacturing was in heavy deficit… but services ran a surplus. And when you added in all the output of U.S.-owned facilities overseas, Americans were actually ahead of the game.
Besides, when you look at all the many inputs – coming from all over the world – that made up global trade, it is impossible to say who’s making what where.
Copper is mined in Chile. Oil is pumped in Oklahoma. Wood for a handle comes from Canada. Soy and wheat (to feed the workers) are grown on the Great Plains.
All come together in Shanghai to make a kettle, which is then shipped to Walmart for sale. Where was the kettle made?
Fourth Fake War
But the “us versus them” story needs to be simple enough for the masses to understand. So the simpletons simplify it as necessary: the foreigners – “them” – are cheating “us.” That’s all you need to know. And thus, the war began, as almost all do, on false pretenses.
Until a few months ago, the U.S. was engaged in only three major fake wars:
A war against terror, (a big boom for the military/industrial complex) fought on many fronts around the world.
A war on drugs (a big boom for the prison/police/law enforcement cronies), which has been going on since 1971, when Nixon declared it.
A war on poverty, since Lyndon Johnson launched one in 1965 (an almost perpetual boost to the social welfare/crony complex).
And now comes a war on trade, too. Yes, it’s “us” versus “them” again! And happy days for the swamp’s lobbyists, schemers, chiselers, negotiators, contractors, and schmoozers.
The regulations multiply. The power of the state increases. The win-win deals decrease. The win-lose deals increase.
And the private sector pays.
China Strikes Back
And now, “them” strikes back. The Chinese propose countermeasures… and hint that they could dump U.S. Treasury bonds! The Europeans say to the Americans, “You tax our cars… we’ll tax your motorcycles.”
Harley-Davidson says it might move its production overseas.
The president threatens ominously:
If [Harley-Davidson] move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!
China says it won’t be pushed around by America’s reality TV star. Neither will Canada.
The Europeans say they put up barriers to prevent cheap steel from entering. Canada, too.
Whole nations… and single companies… rush to take up arms. The headlines get bigger. War fever becomes as common as venereal disease.
And then, in the heat of passion, we hardly notice: the Deep State swamp is filling up nicely. A whole new sluice gate has opened.
You want to sell your sandals in Europe? Send a lobbyist to get Washington on your side!
You want to make coffee pots in Seattle? Give a contribution to the Republicans to persuade them to block Chinese imports!
You think you can make your motorcycles where it is cheapest and most efficient? Think again… you could have the feds and swamp rats coming down on you!
The greasy swamp water rises. And the Deep State takes aim at its real enemy: the American people.
More to come…
P.S. Later this afternoon, Dan Denning and I will be publishing our monthly edition of The Bill Bonner Letter. Dan will reveal “the most evil company in America,” and show you the evidence of the Deep State’s cozy relationship with Big Tech.
Bill Bonner Letter subscribers are encouraged to watch their inbox. And if you’re not a subscriber, go right here to join us.
MARKET INSIGHT: A FLOOD OF VENTURE CAPITAL
By Jeff Brown, Editor, Exponential Tech Investor
As Joe Withrow showed us yesterday, the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in the U.S. has fallen off significantly since the 1990s.
Back then, technology companies went public much earlier than they do today. In the 1990s and 2000s, it was common to go public if a company was generating $50 million a year in revenue, and preferably, at cash flow breakeven.
But today, it’s more likely that an early-stage technology company will delay going public as long as possible, instead opting to draw on an abundant supply of venture capital funding.
Have a look at the dramatic changes in the types of investors in private technology companies starting in 2009.
Hedge funds increased their exposure by 15 times
Mutual funds increased their exposure by 11 times
Family offices increased their exposure by 30 times
Asset management firms increased their exposure by 8 times
These investment flows into technology companies led to tens of billions of dollars of new funds going into technology that never existed before.
This trend has been good for private technology companies, who have been able to raise round after round of venture capital, hedge fund, and institutional fund money.
But this has led to a major distortion in the market. It has delayed exciting technology companies from going public and allowing average investors to have access.
– Jeff Brown
P.S. Venture capital funding has been great for technology companies. They can delay going public and continue to raise round after round of venture capital. The problem is that if you don’t have access to these deals, you’re out.
But I’ve recently uncovered a way for ordinary investors to invest early in industry-altering companies and position themselves for outsized gains. Of course, there’s risk involved. But these investments have the potential for 100X returns in as little as 18 months. Get all the details in this brief video presentation.
America’s Youth Is Ditching Facebook in Droves
A Silicon Valley giant may be in trouble. Facebook, once the most popular social media platform among America’s youth, is falling out of favor with teenagers. Here’s what’s replacing it.
The Town That Amazon Built
You would likely go your entire life without ever hearing about the town of Blaine in northern Washington. But this town of 5,000 people is unique for one reason: Its economy depends almost entirely on Amazon’s e-commerce business.
And read also…
In the mailbag, conversation turns to win-lose trade deals…
In your short-sighted treatise on tariffs, you do not address the phenomenon of other countries’ federal governments subsidizing their production of various products in order to destroy the production of that targeted industry here in the U.S. Nor do you address the theft of intellectual property by deceitful means in order to do business in their country. You are too simplistic
– Ron S.
You seem to ignore the impact of bad accounting policy and bad regulations that had a major impact on job flows out of the country. Free trade works, but our politicians have played a major role in sending jobs away.
– Ken L.
You speak of Trump’s win-lose moves, but when the intended victim in a win-lose deal retaliates, both parties generally lose. Trump’s lose-lose deals are more like it. Remember, in his business deals, he made money overall, but several of them went bankrupt. Do we really want such a gambler betting with our jobs, lives, and fortunes?
– Chuck B.
I worked on assignment in England from 1967 to 1971, and again from 1983 to 1985. I saw the results of what you describe that we are trying to build. History repeats, but they don’t teach it in school, so that politicians can sell the same lies to a new generation. We only got reliable cars when the Japanese (trained by an American, W. Edwards Deming) came to this country. American car manufacturers thought that quality was too expensive.
– Brodie M.
Here’s one way Trump’s tariffs are helping employment: Harley-Davidson, the quintessential American company making an American icon for export worldwide, is going to export production and jobs to get around retaliatory EU tariffs established in relation to Trump’s protectionism. Way to go.
– Robert C.
You are selling again. We are not buying. Ethereal, geopolitical nonsense about walls? Really? Does France not protect its borders? Does France not regulate its wine industry? The harder you try and sell, the less successful you are at actually convincing anyone.
– Riley E.
Bill is correct about the high walls of tariffs. I remember when tariffs were placed on Japanese compact cars to protect the U.S. auto industry’s lower-quality products. The end result was the Japanese avoided the tariffs by quickly building new, high-quality, luxury brands to export, giving competition to domestic high-margin, luxury autos. Eventually, the U.S. auto industry learned its lesson. Most consumers desire quality at a fair price, and few are willing to pay more just to protect an industry.
– John L.
Such a well-crafted analysis of the current madness. Thank you.
– Trudy M.
Another “home run” for Mr. Bonner!
– Rick D.
Thanks for speaking the hard truth of economic reality!
– Richard F.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Late last year, we had a phone call with Jeff Brown, Bill’s top technology expert.
“This will be the biggest technology story of the next ten years,” Jeff told us.
Jeff has already identified investment opportunities that have delivered gains as high as 211%, 222%, and even 345% in under eighteen months. But he says the gains from this next idea will blow all of those out of the water. Details here.