“So sit back, tighten your seatbelts and enjoy the death spiral ride”
Guest Post: The One Chart That Says It All
by Charles Hugh Smith
Depending on debt to fuel nominal growth leads to an economic death spiral.
Sometimes one chart says it all. Here is a chart of the S&P 500 (a broadly based measure of the U.S. stock market) in a ratio with total consumer credit, courtesy of frequent contributor Chartist Friend from Pittsburgh.
Charted against consumer credit, the S&P 500 (SPX) collapsed after the 2000 dot-com bubble burst and has been tracing out a descending channel since then.
Chartist Friend explains:
A funny thing happens when you price the stock market in something other than itself, say gold or the PPI or in this case Total Consumer Credit outstanding. You wind up with a depiction of the market that is sometimes very different from the headline-nominal performance number. The following chart shows that in the 80’s and 90’s we had a real bull market, one based on production and innovation that was able to outperform the growth of credit in the economy. Excessive borrowing wasn’t needed during that time. Now we’re borrowing like a drunken shopper, and all we can come up with are centrally planned consumer-oriented bubbles.