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Now Hiring: The Ministry Of Failure

Now Hiring: The Ministry Of Failure

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Those expecting some centralized, political-administrative…



Now Hiring: The Ministry Of Failure

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Those expecting some centralized, political-administrative "solution" will be disappointed, as the political-administrative "solution" is actually the problem.

The Ministry of Failure is hiring, as their decades-long expansion is accelerating. You probably don't know about the Ministry, but you see its handiwork everywhere. The principle behind the Ministry's existence and its raison d'etre is simple: failure is more profitable than efficiency.

The greater the inefficiency and the higher the failure rate, the fatter the budgets and profits. Consider the permit process: the longer it takes, the more revisions and hoops the applicant must go through and the higher the late fees and penalties for non-compliance, the fatter the budget of the agency and the fatter the compensation of the administrative staff. Inefficiency is more profitable than efficiency.

Consider the immense profitability of planned and quasi-planned obsolescence. The Ministry of Failure doesn't take any chances; it requires manufacturers to use the cheapest, lowest-quality electronic components so the failure of the controller board is essentially guaranteed. And since the cost of the replacement board and the labor to install it is so outrageous, the consumer is forced to buy a new product. Failure is more profitable than durability.

The Ministry is also tasked with eliminating competition while masking this behind a phony facade of faux competition. Consider insulin, a pharmaceutical product that is essential to diabetics. Here is a snippet from the Yale School of Medicine website:

Insulin is seven to 10 times more expensive in the U.S. compared with other countries around the world. The same vial of insulin that cost $21 in the U.S. in 1996 now costs upward of $250. But it takes only an estimated $2 to $4 to produce a vial of insulin.

The Ministry of Failure has spent decades perfecting various cover stories for quasi-monopolies and cartels to justify their blatant profiteering. The Ministry tirelessly works to eliminate competition, grease the revolving doors of regulatory capture and add more compliance thorns to the regulatory thicket that keeps oh-so-unprofitable competition safely suppressed.

So insulin costs 10X in the U.S.? Fantastic! Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Failure, this abject failure is incredibly profitable.

The Ministry understands that any efficiency or reduction in administrative friction steps on somebody's toes by disrupting the profitability of failure and administrative churn. All those toes crushed by efficiency and reducing administrative dead weight belong to powerful interests, and so everything continues to be done the way it's been done because any increase in efficiency / durability and any reduction in administrative bloat hurts somebody with political clout.

One of the greatest successes of the Ministry of Failure has been the rise to dominance of administrative bloat. Consider the example of the healthcare sector, which has experienced an explosive rise in the number of administrators and in the salaries of these administrators (see charts below).

This doesn't reflect the staggering increase in administrative burdens placed on doctors and nurses. The Ministry of Failure has worked tirelessly to exhaust frontline workers everywhere with needless, pointless admin duties.

All of this bloat and inefficiency has been papered over with an equally explosive rise in borrowed money. All the gross inefficiencies, skims, scams and administrative bloat have pushed costs higher, and so the Ministry has worked with the political class and the Federal Reserve to flood the economy with "free money" borrowed into existence by the Fed and the federal government.

Since efficiency and reducing administrative bloat are impossible because somebody's toes will be stepped on, the only "solution" is to slosh more money into the failed system. If insulin costs 10X what it costs in other developed nations, no problem, let's just borrow another trillion dollars (oh heck, make it $10 trillion) so the costs of failure disappear into the background.

One of the outstanding successes of the Ministry of Failure in the past two decades has been the expansion of student loan debt from near-zero to $1.77 trillion. These trillions paid for the expansion of administrative bloat in higher education, and nice salaries and benefits for the administrators. Everybody wins, right?

That all this failure is a net loss to our society and economy is masked by the borrowed trillions. Need more money to pay for failure? Just borrow more. So total debt, public, private and corporate, skyrockets from $20 trillion to $95 trillion, so what? The Fed can always create as much as we need to afford the profitability of failure.

But this "solution" is illusion: the costs of failure have simply been transferred to the citizenry, society and the economy, all of which are now staggering under a crushing weight of debt, money borrowed to keep failure profitable.

Those expecting some centralized, political-administrative "solution" will be disappointed as the political-administrative "solution" is actually the problem.

The default path is to take a job in the Ministry of Failure and borrow boatloads of money to paper over the costs of systemic failure in our own lives.

The only real solution available is to develop solutions for yourself and your household: pursue Self-Reliance and learn how to accredit yourself, a process I describe in my book Get a Job and Build a Real Career. Solutions and workarounds abound, but they're not centralized or administrative in nature.

*  *  *

My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century. Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

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Tyler Durden Sat, 09/30/2023 - 11:30

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UAW workers play hardball with General Motors

Striking United Auto Workers have upped the ante in the battle with GM over wages.



After reporting $3.5 billion in third-quarter profits, General Motors  (GM) - Get Free Report suffered yet another significant blow from striking United Auto Workers on Oct. 24. The union's latest decision is a bold move designed to force management to agree to a slate of terms, including higher wages, more retirement money, and additional time off.

GM workers with the UAW Local 2250 Union strike outside the General Motors Wentzville Assembly Plant on Sept. 15 in Wentzville, Mo. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

General Motors profits put it on the hot seat

General Motors argues UAW workers' wage demands would crimp its ability to invest in necessary technology, putting it at risk of losing market share to non-union competitors vying for a share of the emerging electric vehicle market.

Electric vehicle sales growth is far outpacing internal combustion engine (ICE) growth, a trend that's unlikely to change. In Q3, Cox Automotive's Kelley Blue Book reports electric vehicle sales in the U.S. skyrocketed 50%, increasing EV's share of total vehicle sales to 8%. 

Related: Former Ford CEO has a blunt warning for UAW union strikers

The stakes are undeniably high. 

General Motors' EV market share slipped against key rivals last quarter, a warning sign that it's already struggling to outmaneuver other carmakers. Wall Street analysts estimate EV sales will comprise 40% of all vehicles sold in America in 2030.

General Motors must spend big money if it hopes to remain the nation's biggest automaker. However, claims General Motors can't afford to meet striking workers' demands have fallen flat with workers in the wake of record profitability. 

More Business of EVs:

The company's third-quarter sales exceeded $44 billion, up 5% from one year ago, and earnings per share totaled $2.28 per share, up slightly from last year. The company has pocketed about $10 billion in profits through the first nine months of this year.

UAW workers target a crucial source of  General Motors' profit

Given General Motors' record earnings and stalled contract negotiations, the union has turned its attention to General Motors' biggest cash cow. 

Workers walked off the assembly line at Arlington Assembly on Oct. 24, halting production of the highly profitable Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade, at General Motors' largest plant.

“Another record quarter, another record year. As we’ve said for months: record profits equal record contracts,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “It’s time GM workers, and the whole working class, get their fair share.”

So far, General Motors has offered striking workers less than Ford Motors  (F) - Get Free Report,  

According to a UAW statement, Ford's deal includes a better path to top wages, more retirement money, and a more compelling cost-of-living plan to account for annual inflation than General Motors' offer.

Initially, union workers demanded a 40% pay increase, a return to pensions, a 32-hour workweek, cost-of-living increases, a faster pathway to top wages, and other perks.

They rejected a General Motors offer earlier this month that included a 20% pay increase, a reinstatement of COLA inflation adjustments for top-wage tier workers in year two, reducing how long it takes to reach its top wage tier to four years, an increase in temporary worker pay to $20 per hour, and a boost to 401(k) retirement contributions to 8% from 6.4%.

The decision to expand the strike to Arlington Assembly increased the number of workers participating in its stand-up strike against General Motors, Ford Motors, and Stellantis to 45,000 across eight plants and 38 parts distribution centers. 

Overall, the UAW boasts nearly 150,000 members.

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Key Market Relationships for the Next Big Move

First off, we are heading out of town to New York where I will be visiting in studio several media channels and hosts.Then, we are off to Orlando for the…



First off, we are heading out of town to New York where I will be visiting in studio several media channels and hosts.

Then, we are off to Orlando for the MoneyShow.

On November 1st, Keith and I go on vacation until the middle of the month.

This is the last Daily I will be writing for a while.

However, I will have several clips in the next few days to share, and Geoff Bysshe will occasionally write the Daily in my absence.

That said, today, I began the day with the Benzinga Market Prep Show.

I am featuring this today as content because I hope it helps you look at the market objectively.

We did not discuss inflation, which, as you are aware, I believe can go hyper as geopolitical stress, social unrest, strikes for higher wages, and mother nature could each, or worse, all, kick into gear.

We discussed bonds, small caps, commercial real estate, retail, and a couple of stocks.

In that discussion, and on the heels of Bill Ackman's statements along with our technical indicators, we spell out the exact relationships to watch.

Monday's Daily explained how much long bonds factor into the equity (and commodity) equation.

We also cover small caps and the monthly charts, along with SPY, QQQ, Transports (IYT), and Retail (XRT).

If the decades have taught me anything, it's that the simpler you can make the definitions, the better the comprehension.

It is with that in mind that we show you how easy it will be in just a short time to see where this market heads next.

Benzina Pre-Market Prep

In addition to the analysis, Joel and I talk about the floor days and how we figured out momentum with our senses!

Plus, we go over a couple of picks.

Thank you all for your continued readership and support.

I hope you have many profitable weeks.

Happy Trading.

This is for educational purposes only. Trading comes with risk.

If you find it difficult to execute the MarketGauge strategies or would like to explore how we can do it for you, please email Ben Scheibe at, our Head of Institutional Sales. Cell: 612-518-2482.

For more detailed trading information about our blended models, tools and trader education courses, contact Rob Quinn, our Chief Strategy Consultant, to learn more.

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"I grew my money tree and so can you!" - Mish Schneider

Follow Mish on Twitter @marketminute for stock picks and more. Follow Mish on Instagram (mishschneider) for daily morning videos. To see updated media clips, click here.

Mish in the Media

Mish covers the bond rally and how the consumer could save the day in this video.

Hear Mish's thoughts on earnings, the macro environment, and her three stock picks on Bloomberg BNN.

Ever thought of owning commodities? Hear what Mish says about the key commodities you should consider in this video.

Mish participates in Crypto Town Hall X Space. You can sign in to your X account and watch it here.

In this video, Mish talks about trading Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) on Business First AM.

Mish and Dale Pinkert discuss the disconnect between news and markets-and how to best invest right now in this video from ForexAnalytix's pre-market show.

In this video from CMC Markets, Mish shares her short-term forecast for USD/JPY and popular commodity instruments ahead of the US PPI announcement and September's Fed meeting minutes, with recent dovish comments from Fed officials suggesting a potential shift in the committee's policies.

Mish joins Business First AM to discuss the market reaction to the war in Gaza in this video.

Mish covers bonds, small caps, transports and commodities-dues for the next moves in this video from Yahoo! Finance.

In this video from Real Vision, Mish joins Maggie Lake to share what her framework suggests about junk bonds and investment-grade bonds, what she's watching in commodity markets, and how to structure a portfolio to navigate both bull and bear markets.

Coming Up:

October 26: Cheddar TV on the NYSE

October 27: Live in-studio with Charles Payne, Fox Business

October 27: Live in-studio with Yahoo Finance!

October 27: Recorded in-studio with Investor's Business Daily

October 29-31: The Money Show

Weekly: Business First AM, CMC Markets

November 1–13 VACATION

ETF Summary

  • S&P 500 (SPY): 417–420 support
  • Russell 2000 (IWM): 170 now in the rearview mirror
  • Dow (DIA): 332 pivotal
  • Nasdaq (QQQ): 351 recent low and support
  • Regional Banks (KRE): 35 next support
  • Semiconductors (SMH): 140 support.
  • Transportation (IYT): 225 pivotal
  • Biotechnology (IBB): 120 pivotal
  • Retail (XRT): 57 key support still

Mish Schneider

Director of Trading Research and Education

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Elizabeth Warren uses Hamas as her newest scapegoat in war on crypto

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking advantage sensationalist claims related to Hamas’ use of crypto. Unfortunately, those claims are largely…



Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking advantage sensationalist claims related to Hamas' use of crypto. Unfortunately, those claims are largely false.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is at it again. With mainstream press outlets including Germany’s Deutsche Welle running sensationalist headlines — “How cryptocurrency fueled Hamas’ terrorist attack” — Warren is using Hamas’ attack on Israel to fuel her own war on cryptocurrency.

Crypto’s role in the conflict came into focus on Oct. 10, when Israeli police froze crypto accounts used for donations to Hamas. It was not the first time. In 2021, Israel’s Terror Financing of Israel (NBCTF) seized crypto wallets linked to a Hamas fundraising campaign.

While Binance worked “closely with international counter-terrorism authorities" on the seizures, Warren led a group of more than 100 U.S. lawmakers in sending the Biden administration a letter letter asking it to crack down on Hamas and its affiliates’ cryptocurrency wallets — despite the organization’s relative struggle to raise crypto as part of its fundraising efforts.

“Congress and this administration must take strong action to thoroughly address crypto illicit finance risks before it can be used to finance another tragedy,” the letter said.

The lawmakers requested that the Biden administration also provide estimates on the value of crypto assets that remain in Hamas-controlled wallets, how much of Hamas’ operations are funded through crypto, and any information it has on the actors facilitating the sending of crypto to and from Hamas and other militant groups.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Gaza-based crypto broker “Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company (Buy Cash)” on Oct. 18, revealing it had been used for a whopping $2,000 Bitcoin transaction — a paltry sum compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars used to fund Hamas. One sanctioned wallet had $16 in it.

“We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “That includes by imposing sanctions and coordinating with allies and partners to track, freeze, and seize any Hamas-related assets in their jurisdictions.”

Terrorists’ use of cryptocurrency has been dramatically overstated. The dollar remains the key tool for money launderers, with crypto playing a relatively tiny role. Why would terrorists use blockchain when its transactions can be tracked? Beyond this, terrorists arguably have little need for crypto when they have the ability to siphon aid funds from the international community. The United Nations spent nearly $4.5 billion in Gaza from 2014-2020, including $600 million in 2020 alone, even as Hamas reportedly turned European Union-funded water pipelines into home-made rockets., a blockchain-analysis provider, suggested in a report this month that Hamas did receive cryptocurrency around the time of the attack. However, Hamas has not used crypto as a primary source of funding, instead opting to use the banking system, money service businesses, as well as informal “hawala” transfers. This global financing network  launders funds from charities and friendly nations to Hamas. Hamas started publicly seeking funds in crypto in 2019 through its Telegram channel. The group now uses payment processors to create crypto addresses and hide its cryptocurrency wallets.

The bulk of anti-terrorism efforts should not focus on terrorist use of cryptocurrency, considering the diverse ways these organizations procure funds. “There’s not one financing method for Hamas or other terrorist organizations. They’re opportunistic and adaptive,” former CIA analyst Yaya Fanusie, now an adjunct senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security, said in an interview with CNN. “Efforts to stop them are a constant game of cat-and-mouse.”

Due to crypto’s transparent nature, it’s proven to be no secret when Hamas uses crypto, as made clear by the recent crypto freezing action. When it does use crypto, Hamas generally receives small-dollar donations, ultimately representing a small fragment of the organization’s considerable $300 million annual budget. It’s disingenuous to state that terrorist use of crypto is a credible threat relative to the fiat-denominated funds moving through these organizations.

Warren’s anti-crypto pet project appears to be a red herring, and ultimately distracts from more fruitful conversations about how terrorist organizations actually raise funds through the traditional financial system.

Kadan Stadelmann is a blockchain developer and the Komodo Platform’s chief technology officer. He graduated from the University of Vienna in 2011 with a degree in information technology before attending the Berlin Institute of Technology for technical informatics and scientific computing. He joined the Komodo team in 2016.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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