The five scary new rules of upside-down capitalism

As historian Will Durant once wrote, “the first culture is agriculture.” And he was right. Civilization as we know it has its foundations in agriculture.
When human beings came out of caves, stopped roaming the wild, and began planting seeds to feed their families and tribes, they were able to produce more food than they consumed for the first time in the history of our species.
And because it only took a handful of people to feed an entire village, everyone else was able pursue other vocations like architecture, science, mathematics, medicine, etc.
Freed from the daily toil of survival, our ancestors invented trade, commerce, writing, and everything else that fueled progress over the next 10,000 years.
And this simple concept of producing more than you consume has been the foundation of human prosperity for millennia.

It’s also one of the basic principles of capitalism. People who produce and save are supposed to be rewarded. People who irresponsibly go in to debt to consume are supposed to be punished.
But not anymore.
Back in 2014, the European Central Bank made history when they pushed interest rates into negative territory.
Literally never before in the history of the world had interest rates been negative. And little by little, those negative rates have been spreading.
A recent report published by the Financial Times showed that 60% of German banks are now passing on that negative interest to their customers.

In other words, if you save money, you have to pay the bank interest. And many banks are now starting to pay customers to borrow money.
This is totally upside down. Saving is penalized, and debt is rewarded.
But the breakdown in the system doesn’t stop there.
I’ve written extensively about how some of the most popular investments in the world are companies that lose enormous amounts of money and have no plan to consistently turn a profit… ever.

Uber, for example, lost a whopping $5.2 billion just in the second quarter of this year. WeWork has been a never-ending saga of burning through billions of dollars of investors’ capital.
Lyft loses money. Snapchat loses money. Slack loses money.
Even Tesla and Netflix both continue to post multi-billion dollar cash flow losses.
Yet according to a recent Bloomberg survey, these are some of the most popular investments in the world.
It’s almost as if the more money these companies lose, the more desirable they are to Wall Street.

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