Send this article to a friend:


False Reading: The Fed's Equities Light Is "Green" But The Economy Is Crashing
Charles Hugh Smith

Sadly, as markets stall and crash, participants will still be in their seats thinking all is well.

The tragic 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 offers an apt analogy for the global economy and central bank-driven false signals. Flight 447 entered an area of frigid turbulence over the Atlantic which caused the air-speed sensors (pitot tubes) to ice up. A few minutes later, the autopilot disengaged, and the co-pilot flying the aircraft over-corrected in the turbulence.

Deprived of accurate airspeed readings, the co-pilot misjudged the situation and attempted to climb, causing the aircraft to stall. Unable to recover, it crashed into the Atlantic, killing all on board.

The co-pilot's last recorded words are haunting: "We're going to crash! This can't be true. But what's happening?"

The Federal Reserve's massive pimping of the stock market has frozen free-market feedback, generating wildly inaccurate readings which are leading participants to their doom. Stripped of price discovery and accurate readings of risk, participants are attempting to recover recent highs, a misreading of reality that will cause the stock market to stall and crash.

In effect, the Fed is jamming the equities market light on"green" when it should be flashing red and a stall alarm should be sounding. Participants in the current manic rally are looking at the indicator light--a steady green, indicating A-OK--when in reality the global economy has stalled out and is crashing.

Thanks to the Fed's pimping, the indicators no longer reflect the realities of price discovery or risk, and so participants are making a fatal error: they are assuming that the indicator light is accurate and that the stock market is "safe" and "stable," when in fact it is unstable and stalling.

Having inflated a high-risk, unsustainable bubble from September 2019 to February 2020, the Fed's response to the stock market stall in March has been to create false readings of stability, risk and altitude. While punters and money managers are acting on the panel of green lights ("The Fed has our backs, stocks will rise, there's no risk"), the market is actually stalling out so severely that the warning sensors have shut down.

Sadly, as markets stall and crash, participants will still be in their seats thinking all is well because the Fed has jury-rigged all the readings to be bright green and disabled the stall alarm.

My recent books:

Audiobook edition now available:
Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World ($13)
(Kindle $6.95, print $11.95) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 (Kindle), $12 (print), $13.08 ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via



At readers' request, I've prepared a biography. I am not confident this is the right length or has the desired information; the whole project veers uncomfortably close to PR. On the other hand, who wants to read a boring bio? I am reminded of the "Peanuts" comic character Lucy, who once issued this terse biographical summary: "A man was born, he lived, he died." All undoubtedly true, but somewhat lacking in narrative.

I was raised in southern California as a rootless cosmopolitan: born in Santa Monica, and then towed by an upwardly mobile family to Van Nuys, Tarzana, Los Feliz and San Marino, where the penultimate conclusion of upward mobility, divorce and a shattered family, sent us to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernadino mountains.

Send this article to a friend: