Monday, February 4, 2013

Hey Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

So, the other day Captain Capitalism (AKA: Aaron Clarey) (Yes, it's on Kindle too ... sigh) posted a video he made about the Federal Reserve and whatever else it was that was clogging up his spleen.  Since his spleenic ventings are typically entertaining/interesting (for a given value of either you understand; YMMV), I watched - and then felt compelled to ask:
Query (because I really don't know); isn't GDP the Gross Domestic Product? If so, what influence does foreign based contribution to US stock markets have on market valuation that doesn't reflect in the formal GDP valuation? Or does it?

Cappy is ranting about decreased GDP with increased stock value; if the stock value includes input from non-domestic sources, wouldn't that be the expected result?
I ask because, since so much of US manufacturing business (and heavy industry generally) has been exported/off-shored/pick-whatever-euphamism-you-like, wouldn't a lack of growth in domestic financial indicators (which are what contribute to determining GDP) with simultaneous growth in domestic stock valuations driven by foreign capital investment result in pretty much just what arouses Cappy's ire?

I don't remember where off-hand, but I read recently (like, in the last few days) that Mexico is financially no longer even remotely deserving of the appellation "third world country" as it is now ranked as the 39th largest economy in the world.  That doesn't mean that at least a third of the country's territory isn't still a third world shit-hole as a practical matter, but there's a first-world pantload of money swirling around through the rest of the place apparently.

And somebody there seemingly wants to invest some of that in something other than amateur pharmacology, impromptu eugenics and surreptitious import/export.

My thinking is that Mexican (and Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc) money going into the US stock market ought to tend to drive up stock valuations irrespective of the rest of the US economic fraud manipulation activity also occurring.  The very idea of the Federal Reserve Bank being anything more than Congress and the Treasury Department's ATM machine and safety deposit box for temporary cash surplus occasions is just an invitation to larceny, so I understand the impulse to shout "The Federal Reserve Doesn't Produce Anything!", even though I have to say the Fed has a well-established track record of producing a faux debt that the US .gov insists we the tax payers have to honor which, however physically insubstantial it might be, is very definitely (some)thing.

I have also read that, "the universe is about 90% hydrogen and 10% helium; all the rest is basically a rounding error".  Speaking for my own portion of that fractional error, I wonder if there isn't possible a mathematical formula that is based on a measurable universal standard - say, the elemental number of hydrogen fer instance - and that this figure could be the known metric by which a stipulated quantity could be determined.  This measurable, known quantity could then be the basis for calculating a standardized valuation.  That being determined, any monetary issue (currency, regardless of source) could then have a universal monetary valuation calculated based upon the issuing country's floating (but serially measurable to a universal standard) GDP as that is mutually stipulated to reflect.

No such thing as fiat currency is even possible if all currency can be valued by a universal (and importantly, fixed and untamperable) standard.

All that aside, I do wonder if my basic observation about stocks and GDP is at all correct.  Wadda ya say, Cap'n?

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