The Duration Bubble

The engineering of a financial crisis is never purposeful, but never does it fail to benefit the ignorant architects that benefit anyways. The decision to artificially manipulate and suppress interest rates by central banks and the Federal Reserve in particular have artificially driven the value of future prospects while decreasing real investment. By consequence of the fundamental pricing law, the Time Value of Money (TVM), a fair value calculation of a cash-generating asset will weight future payments more- or less-heavily inversely proportionally to the interest rate that is applied to discount these cash flows. This suppression has artificially inflated financial assets, technology companies, and real estate because the interest rate effect is so strong in assets whose value extends so greatly unto the future. On the other hand, it has suppressed investment into real productive assets, due to the lure of financial products and capital gains, while increasing risk through the elimination of modest yield-earning and low-risk products. While Treasuries once yielded somewhere between 5-8% returns on 10y bonds, pension funds and individuals that wanted to retire before their death were reasonably assured that their capital would grow at a rate that was sufficient for their needs. Nowadays, the same parties are being forced to postpone retirement, invest in riskier products to match historical yield projections, or default on their debtors. Many pension funds will likely be forced to collapse, as the government has largely run out of money to bail them out after having done the same with private financial interests during the 2008 crisis. Additionally, real productive projects have lost their appeal to investors, which have preferred to limit their risk appetite and stick to the consistent outperformance of technology stocks and ventures. The narrative of a new economy and of technological disruption being the ultimate economic success let the real industries that support them languish, squeezed even drier by activists and ESG index fund mandates imposed by BlackRock. This can only lead to the bubble popping after everyone joins the tech party, driven to implode by rising commodity prices and inflation concerns that prompt monetary tightening by central banks. I believe the consequences will be catastrophic.