Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Great Depression Déjà Vu

The following chart shows personal consumption expenditures for services (ex health care) divided by disposable personal income.

Click to enlarge.

Who knew the 1932 resistance level would be so difficult to punch through?

Other than the failure of the trend in red and the fact that we're at 1932 levels, everyone knows our service economy just keeps getting stronger and stronger over time. It's common knowledge. There's no point even debating it. 70 years of economic history can't be wrong. Ignore the 80 years of economic history I say! This trend only goes up over the long-term! Right?

What's the worst that could happen from here?

The Mason-Overy Debate: "The Flight into War" theory

In Mason's view in the period between 1936–41, it was the state of the German economy, and not Hitler's 'will' or 'intentions' that was the most important determinate on German decision-making on foreign policy. Mason argued that the Nazi leaders were deeply haunted by the November Revolution of 1918, and was most unwilling to see any fall in working class living standards out of the fear that it might provoke another November Revolution.

This is a different world. I think we can pretty much rest assured that countries are willing to see falls in working class living standards. Take Russia for example. Let the ruble fall where it may. And China? I'm sure they only want aircraft carriers for their amusement parks.

Chinese aircraft carrier programme

Through various ventures, China has also purchased the ex-Soviet carriers Minsk and Kiev. These carriers have become floating amusement parks for tourists.

October 14, 2014
Why is the US Navy practising for war with China?

China's People's Liberation Army Navy is still no match for the US Navy, and won't be for a very long time. Instead, China has been developing other weapons designed to keep America's precious carriers far away from China's shores.

These include new quieter submarines, long-range hypersonic anti-ship missiles and, perhaps most worrying, very accurate medium range ballistic missiles that have been dubbed "carrier killers".

January 23, 2013
PLA 'sinks' US carrier in DF-21D missile test in Gobi

"It can be used like a stick to hit the dog intruding on our backyard, but it can never be used to attack the house where the dog comes from," the paper's commentary said.

Speaking of dogs and carriers, there may actually be a dog carrier glut. Just look at them all. Won't stop me from investing in the Chinese dog carrier market though! If there is one thing I learned from the housing bubble, it's that I gotta get my share of this infinitely growing industry before I'm priced out forever!

This is not investment advice.

See Also:
Sarcasm Disclaimer

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


Mr Slippery said...

They aren't making any more land to set dog carriers on, so I think you on to something.

Anonymous said...

This chart is borderline unbelievable (the data pattern I mean, not the chart). My brain wants to reject it.

These hundred year + charts always creep-me-out when a pattern lasts that long. I think it's because even tho I know "it's NEVER different this time" our brain is always telling us how "exceptional" now is (and, of course, the future). And this one, showing a limit (in America, there are NO limits!!!)

You should keep topic-indexes for your charts. Would be interesting so see other "hundred year charts". Hopefully there's no 100 year parabolas lurking about somewhere!

(Interesting about the rail-line through your old home town. That line is a bike trail over many parts of it now. If it's ever completely linked-up it would probably be the longest bike trail on the planet. What work did your parents do in that town?)

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,


We should probably factor in the appearance of floating dog carriers in the distant future, once we run out of land. ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...


This chart is borderline unbelievable (the data pattern I mean, not the chart). My brain wants to reject it.

No joke!

You should keep topic-indexes for your charts.

I can only imagine how much time it would take me to organize all the charts. Nearly every one is unique.

For the most part, I don't even attempt to update charts any longer. I just make new ones. There are 240,000 series in FRED, and many of my charts use more than one series at a time. The permutations seem nearly endless.

What work did your parents do in that town?

My dad was the bank manager. My mom worked in Spokane (much larger city 30 miles north) as a bank teller. My family seems to have a numbers gene.