These Two Things Are Telling Us Exactly Where The Market Is Headed

Yields on the riskiest junk bonds are absolutely soaring and the price of copper just hit a fresh six year low.  To most people, those pieces of financial news are meaningless.  But if you understand history, and you are aware of the patterns that immediately preceded previous stock market crashes, then you know how how huge both of those signs are.  During the summer of 2008, junk bond prices absolutely cratered as junk bond yields skyrocketed.  This was a very clear signal that financial markets were about to crash, and sure enough a couple of months later it happened.  Now the exact same thing is happening again.  The following comes from a Wall Street On Parade article that was posted on Tuesday entitled “Keep Your Eye on Junk Bonds: They’re Starting to Behave Like ‘08“…

According to data from Bloomberg, corporations have issued a stunning $9.3 trillion in bonds since the beginning of 2009. The major beneficiary of this debt binge has been the stock market rather than investment in modernizing the plant, equipment or new hires to make the company more competitive for the future. Bond proceeds frequently ended up buying back shares or boosting dividends, thus elevating the stock market on the back of heavier debt levels on corporate balance sheets.

Now, with commodity prices resuming their plunge and currency wars spreading, concerns of financial contagion are back in the markets and spreads on corporate bonds versus safer, more liquid instruments like U.S. Treasury notes, are widening in a fashion similar to the warning signs heading into the 2008 crash. The $2.2 trillion junk bond market (high-yield) as well as the investment grade market have seen spreads widen as outflows from Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and bond funds pick up steam.

And right now we are seeing the most volatility in the junkiest of the junk bonds.

The following comes from Wolf Richter, and my jaw just about dropped to the floor when I first saw this…

This chart of yields at the riskiest end of the junk bond market – bonds rated CCC and below – shows what happened. These bonds have been selling off over the past 12 months, with exception of the sucker rally earlier this year, and their yields more than doubled from less than 7.9% in June a year ago to 16.2% by Thursday evening. And Thursday was a massacre:

riskiest junk bonds

On Thursday, yields jumped 2.6 percentage points, from 13.58% to 16.18%, as these junk bonds plunged. Those kinds of single-day vertigo-inducing sell-offs are rare in normal times, and there haven’t been any since the Financial Crisis.

Amazingly, the Federal Reserve is actually thinking about raising interest rates in this environment.

If that sounds like a really bad idea to you, that is because it is a really bad idea.

Raising interest rates would just add fuel to the fire of this junk bond rout.  DoubleLine Capital’s co-founder Jeffrey Gundlach agrees with me

To raise interest rates when junk bonds are nearly at a four-year low is a bad idea,” Gundlach said in a telephone interview.

Gundlach, widely followed for his prescient investment calls, said if the Fed begins raising interest rates in September, “it opens the lid on Pandora’s Box of a tightening cycle.”

Gundlach said the selling pressure in copper and commodity prices driven by worries over China’s growth outlook “should be a huge concern. It is the second-biggest economy in the world.”

Meanwhile, as Gundlach mentioned, the price of copper continues to plunge.

On Tuesday, it set a brand new six year low.  It is now the lowest that it has been since the days of the last financial crisis.

And as you can see from this excerpt from a recent Investment Research Dynamics article, the price of copper started crashing before the stock market crash of 2008…

I wanted to keep this simple and just look at what is considered perhaps the best barometer of global economic activity:

Copper Chart - Investment Research Dynamics

You’ll note that the price of copper is headed lower and is back to the price level where it was in the middle of 2008, right before the great financial collapse.  You’ll note that $3.6 trillion in Federal Reserve money printing – on top of trillions in Bank of Japan, ECB and People’s Bank of China money printing – has not been able to keep the price of copper from crashing again.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the global financial system is in realtrouble.

Another sign that rough waters are ahead is the fact that global shipping has fallen into a dramatic slump.  The following comes from the Telegraph

World shipping has fallen into a deep slump over the late summer, dashing hopes of a quick recovery from the global trade recession earlier this year and heightening fears that the six-year economic expansion may be on its last legs.

Freight rates for container shipping from Asia to Europe fell by over 20pc in the second week of August, even though trade volumes should be picking up at this time of the year. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) for routes to north European ports crashed by 23pc in five trading days.

Global economic activity is clearly slowing down, and there are 23 nations around the planet that are already experiencing stock market crashes.

The financial markets of the western world have not totally crashed just yet, but they are more leveraged and more vulnerable than ever.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

  • The REAL problem for the financial system is the bond bubble. In 2008 when the crisis hit it was $80 trillion. It has since grown to over $100 trillion.
  • The derivatives market that uses this bond bubble as collateral is over $555 trillion in size.
  • Many of the large multinational corporations, sovereign governments, and even municipalities have used derivatives to fake earnings and hide debt. NO ONE knows to what degree this has been the case, but given that 20% of corporate CFOs have admitted to faking earnings in the past, it’s likely a significant amount.
  • Corporations today are more leveraged than they were in 2007. As Stanley Druckenmiller noted recently, in 2007 corporate bonds were $3.5 trillion… today they are $7 trillion: an amount equal to nearly 50% of US GDP.
  • The Central Banks are now all leveraged at levels greater than or equal to where Lehman Brothers was when it imploded. The Fed is leveraged at 78 to 1. The ECB is leveraged at over 26 to 1. Lehman Brothers was leveraged at 30 to 1.
  • The Central Banks have no idea how to exit their strategies. Fed minutes released from 2009 show Janet Yellen was worried about how to exit when the Fed’s balance sheet was $1.3 trillion (back in 2009). Today it’s over $4.5 trillion.

As I explained during a recent interview with Kate Dalley of Fox News radio, what is coming should be obvious to anyone that is willing to look at the numbers honestly.

The global financial system is going to crash.

Yes, this crisis is going to take years to fully play out, but by the time it is all said and done it is going to be much worse than what we experienced back in 2008 and 2009.

So buckle up tight and hold on for your life, because we are in for one wild ride.

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About the Author: The Economic Collapse Blog

  • JohnDille

    LEARN TO READ… THEN YOU WILL HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    You have whined and complained about me insulting you, but you have never identified the business that I operate let alone the scam that you accuse me of carrying out. Please do so or I will have to conclude that you are really have no clue as to what you are yapping about.

  • JohnDille

    LEARN TO READ… THEN YOU WOULD KNOW!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Please tell me specifically about this scam that you continue to yap about.

  • JohnDille

    PLEASE READ… IF YOU ARE CAPABLE OF READING… MY COMMENT MADE IN RESPONSE TO THAT REQUEST. I HAVE POSTED IT A HALF DOZEN TIMES OR SO… BUT YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY TOO DUMB TO READ AND UNDERSTAND THAT COMMENT!!! AND UNTIL YOU DO READ AND UNDERSTAND THAT COMMENT, YOU WILL REMAIN TOO CLUELESS TO UNDERSTAND WHY I SAY YOU MUST BE RUNNING A SCAM!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Please identify my scam and against whom it is being perpetrated. Thanks.

  • Joe Cabot

    And your absolute refusal to do so is stunning.

  • JohnDille

    I WOULD POST A LINK TO THIS STORY, SO YOU COULD READ IT WHILE OPERATING YOUR SCAM BUSINESS… SO YOU COULD GET A BETTER FEEL FOR JUST HOW WONDERFUL IT IS TO BE A WORKING PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY… BUT OF COURSE, THIS SITE DOES NOT ALLOW LINKS… SO HERE IS A SMALL PART OF THAT STORY. I LEFT OUT THE REALLY GORY STUFF THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY MAKE YOU REALIZE JUST HOW CRAPPY THE REAL WORLD IS HERE IN YOUR WONDERFUL AMERICA!!! NAH… YIOU CANT READ, ANYWAY, AND YOU ARE TOO ARROGANT TO GIVE A RATS REAR END ABOUT ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. TYPICAL REPUBLICAN!!!
    Most people are aware that Americans have a raw deal when it comes to maternity leave. Perhaps they’ve heard about Sweden, with its drool-inducing 16 months of paid parental leave, or Finland, where, after about 9 months of paid leave, the mother or father can take—or split—additional paid “child care leave” until the child’s third birthday.

    But most Americans don’t realize quite how out of step we are. It’s not just wealthy, social democratic Nordic countries that make us look bad. With the exception of a few small countries like Papua New Guinea and Suriname, every other nation in the world—rich or poor—now requires paid maternity leave.

    Paid parental leave frees mothers and fathers from choosing between their careers and time with their infants. For women, still most often the primary caregivers of young children, this results in higher employment rates, which in turn translates to lower poverty rates among mothers and their children.

    Research shows that paid leave can also be a matter of life and death for children. By charting the correlation between death rates and paid leave in 16 European countries, Christopher Ruhm, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia, found that a 50-week extension in paid leave was associated with a 20 percent dip in infant deaths. (The biggest drop was in deaths of babies between 1 month and 1 year old, though mortality of children between 1 and 5 years also decreased as paid leave went up.)

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to any form of paid family leave, which includes parental leave and other time off to care for a family member. The highest-paid workers are most likely to have it, according to BLS numbers, with more than 1 in 5 of the top 10 percent of earners getting paid family leave, compared to 1 in 20 in the bottom quartile. Unionized workers are more likely to get benefits than nonunionized workers.

    What do the rest of American women do without a law that guarantees this basic support? Some new mothers who don’t get paid leave quit their jobs, which can leave them desperate for income and have serious consequences in terms of work opportunities and lifetime earnings. Others may choose not to have children (though it’s impossible to definitively quantify how the difficulty of integrating work and childbirth factors into those decisions). And some try to stitch together their own paid leaves through accumulated vacation time and personal days, or through independently purchased insurance policies.

  • JohnDille

    TO QUIT WHINING… AND TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY LIFE… DOING WHAT I HAVE NO CLUE… OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!! THAT IS THE ESSENTIAL CONTENT OF AT LEAST HALF OF YOUR COMMENTS!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    What advice have I ever attempted to give you?

  • Joe Cabot

    Since you continue to label my businesses with the word scam, but cannot tell me how these scams are being perpetrated, I now have to assume that this is more of your incessant, baseless, envious yapping based on your misery and failures, and not on anything of substance. At least you are consistent.

  • JohnDille

    WHO??? YOU??? ALL YOU EVER DO IS WHINE ABOUT HOW US LOWER INCOME PEONS HAVE FAILED TO TAKE YOUR ADVICE AND… SOMEHOW… MAGICALLY I GUESS… DO WELL IN LIFE!!! WHY DO YOU COMPLAIN SO MUCH ABOUT HOW POORLY ALL THE REST OF US ARE DOING, OUT HERE IN THE REAL WORLD??? CANT YOU JUST BE CONTENT WITH LIVING YOUR OWN LIFE THEIR ON YOUR OWN PRIVATE REPUIBLICAN FANTASY ISLAND???

  • JohnDille

    WELL,,, SINCE YOU OBVIOUSLY CANNOT READ VERY WELL… MAYBE IF I JUST KEEP REPOSTING AND REPOSTING AND REPOSTING THE SAME COMMENT, YOU WILL ACTUALLY FIGURE OUT WHAT I SAID ABOUT YOUR SCAM…..
    WHAT I READ FROM YOU… PRETTY MUCH EVERY TIME YOU POST… IS THAT WORKING PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED DOING THEIR CRAPPY JOBS FOR EVEN CRAPPIER WAGES BECAUSE THEY DID NOT TAKE SOME UNKNOWN KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY… LIKE YOU DID. SO… WHAT ARE WE TO CONCLUDE BUT THAT YOU ARE SOME SORT OF DEAD BEAT MAKING YOUR FORTUNE BY SCAMMING YOUR FELLOW MAN??? BECAUSE ABOUT 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING, DO SO BY WORKING FOR SOME COMPANY… WHILE YOU DISDAIN THAT KIND OF WORK!!! APPARENTLY, YOUR SCAM… OR WHATEVER… PAYS PRETTY GOOD… OR YOU WOULD NOT BE CONSTANTLY LOOKING DOWN YOUR NOSE AT US WORKING PEONS!!!
    MAYBE YOU SHOULD DO US ALL A FAVOR AND EXPLAIN HOW YOUR APPARENT SCAM WORKS… THEN WE CAN TAKLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN LIVES… AND IMITATE YOUR SCAM…. IF WE CAN SOMEHOW SCRAPE TOGETHER THE MONEY NEEDED TO PERPETRATE IT!!! WE ARE ALL WAITING FOR YOU TO EXPLAIN YOUR SCAM!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Please name the scam that I am perpetrating. Thanks.

  • Joe Cabot

    At least these folks have a role model to follow if their goal is to become a whining, blaming malcontent.

  • JohnDille

    WELL,,, SINCE YOU OBVIOUSLY CANNOT READ VERY WELL… MAYBE IF I JUST KEEP REPOSTING AND REPOSTING AND REPOSTING THE SAME COMMENT, YOU WILL ACTUALLY FIGURE OUT WHAT I SAID ABOUT YOUR SCAM…..
    WHAT I READ FROM YOU… PRETTY MUCH EVERY TIME YOU POST… IS THAT WORKING PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED DOING THEIR CRAPPY JOBS FOR EVEN CRAPPIER WAGES BECAUSE THEY DID NOT TAKE SOME UNKNOWN KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY… LIKE YOU DID. SO… WHAT ARE WE TO CONCLUDE BUT THAT YOU ARE SOME SORT OF DEAD BEAT MAKING YOUR FORTUNE BY SCAMMING YOUR FELLOW MAN??? BECAUSE ABOUT 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING, DO SO BY WORKING FOR SOME COMPANY… WHILE YOU DISDAIN THAT KIND OF WORK!!! APPARENTLY, YOUR SCAM… OR WHATEVER… PAYS PRETTY GOOD… OR YOU WOULD NOT BE CONSTANTLY LOOKING DOWN YOUR NOSE AT US WORKING PEONS!!!
    MAYBE YOU SHOULD DO US ALL A FAVOR AND EXPLAIN HOW YOUR APPARENT SCAM WORKS… THEN WE CAN TAKLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN LIVES… AND IMITATE YOUR SCAM…. IF WE CAN SOMEHOW SCRAPE TOGETHER THE MONEY NEEDED TO PERPETRATE IT!!!

  • JohnDille

    I HAVE KEPT AT LEAST A HALF DOZEN IMMIGRANTS FROM COMING OVER BECAUSE I TOLD THEM THE COLD HARD TRUTH ABOUT HOW THINGS REALLY WORK HERE IN AMERICA… BUT MOSTLY, IMMIGRANTS HAVE IGNORED MY NEGATIVE COMMENTS… AND HAVE LEARNED THE HARD WAY THAT I WAS TELLING THEM THE COLD HARD TRUTH!!! FORTUNATELY, I WATCH MOST OF THEM FLOUNDER FROM A DISTANCE, AND I DO NOT FEEL LIKE TELLING THEM… I TOLD YOU SO!!! THAT WOULD NOT BE APPRECIATED ANYWAY… SO… THEY FLOUNDER AND OFTEN FAIL ON THEIR OWN, WITHOUT AY INPUT AT ALL FROM ME!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Hey, for all your yapping about the scam that I am perpetrating, you still haven’t let me know who I am scamming and who these people are.

  • Joe Cabot

    Well, to be fair, considering that from the day that they got here, these folks were hearing from you how miserable life is, they really did not stand much of a chance.

  • JohnDille

    I HAVE HELPED SEVERAL DOZEN PEOPLE GET THEIR US CITIZENSHIP, AND HAVE HELPED SEVERAL DOZEN MORE COME TO THIS COUNTRY LEGALLY, ON BEHALF OF THEIR LEGAL RELATIVES. AND THE ONE THING I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AMAZED BY IS… WHEN THEY GET HERE AND TRY TO MAKE A LIVING HERE… THEY ARE HORRIFIED BY WHAT THEY FIND! THEY CAME HERE WITH THE FANTASY VERSION OF AMERICA IN THEIR MIND… A FANTASY VERSION OF AMERICA THAT SEEMS TO BE MUCH LIKE YOUR OWN FANTASY OF WHAT AMERICA IS REALLY LIKE…. AND ALL OF THEM… ALL OF THEM… HAVE BEEN GROSSLY DISAPPOINTED BY WHAT THEY HAVE FOUND HERE!!! SEVERAL HAVE LEFT… SEVERAL MORE HAVE WANTED TO GO BACK HOME, BUT COULD NOT AFFORD TO DO SO! TWO WERE SO MISERABLE THAT THEY COMMITED SUICIDE!! NEVER MIND THE MISERY OF MY FELLOW AMERICA BORN CO WORKERS… JUST LOOK AT HOW THE FANTASY VERSION OF AMERICA HAS IMPACTED THE IMMIGRANTS I HAVE DEALT WITH! AMERICA ON YOUR SIDE OF THE FANTASY FENCE MAY BE A WONDERFUL PLACE… BUT HUGE NUMBERS OF AMERICANS WOULD NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT SIDE OF THE FENCE…. WE ARE TOO BUSY AND STRESSED JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE ON THE REALITY SIDE OF THAT FENCE!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    It’s not a fantasy world to some of us. You just let yourself get trapped by your miserable attitude.

  • JohnDille

    WHAT I READ FROM YOU… PRETTY MUCH EVERY TIME YOU POST… IS THAT WORKING PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED DOING THEIR CRAPPY JOBS FOR EVEN CRAPPIER WAGES BECAUSE THEY DID NOT TAKE SOME UNKNOWN KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY… LIKE YOU DID. SO… WHAT ARE WE TO CONCLUDE BUT THAT YOU ARE SOME SORT OF DEAD BEAT MAKING YOUR FORTUNE BY SCAMMING YOUR FELLOW MAN??? BECAUSE ABOUT 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING, DO SO BY WORKING FOR SOME COMPANY… WHILE YOU DISDAIN THAT KIND OF WORK!!! APPARENTLY, YOUR SCAM… OR WHATEVER… PAYS PRETTY GOOD… OR YOU WOULD NOT BE CONSTANTLY LOOKING DOWN YOUR NOSE AT US WORKING PEONS!!!

  • JohnDille

    I don’t believe that anyone is trapped in a job or at a certain wage level. America is a land of opportunity, and success stories are being written every day. LIKE I HAVE SAID A NUMBER OF TIMES…. YOU LIVE IN A FANTASY WORLD!!! THE FEW HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES… MOSTLY BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD TO TAKE ADVBANTAGE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES. THE REST OF US MAKE DO WITH WHATEVER WE CAN SOMEHOW SCROUNGE UP!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Three times on this forum alone, you have accused me of perpetrating a scam. Can you please let us all know who I am scamming and how I am doing it.

  • Joe Cabot

    As I suspected, your comprehension skills are on strike. Must be a union thing. I don’t believe that anyone is trapped in a job or at a certain wage level. America is a land of opportunity, and success stories are being written every day. You are pretty much the only working person who spends his days here whining, complaining, and blaming, so any mocking for lack of personal accountability is directed at you and no one else.

  • JohnDille

    WHAT I READ FROM YOU… PRETTY MUCH EVERY TIME YOU POST… IS THAT WORKING PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED DOING THEIR CRAPPY JOBS FOR EVEN CRAPPIER WAGES BECAUSE THEY DID NOT TAKE SOME UNKNOWN KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY… LIKE YOU DID. SO… WHAT ARE WE TO CONCLUDE BUT THAT YOU ARE SOME SORT OF DEAD BEAT MAKING YOUR FORTUNE BY SCAMMING YOUR FELLOW MAN??? BECAUSE ABOUT 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING, DO SO BY WORKING FOR SOME COMPANY… WHILE YOU DISDAIN THAT KIND OF WORK!!! APPARENTLY, YOUR SCAM… OR WHATEVER… PAYS PRETTY GOOD… OR YOU WOULD NOT BE CONSTANTLY LOOKING DOWN YOUR NOSE AT US WORKING PEONS!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Wow, are you so angry and ready to yell at everyone that you don’t even take time to read a post before tossing a tantrum? I have never written that I don’t work. I work, work hard, and have earned my success. To you this apparently equals scam.

  • JohnDille

    I HAVE NO IDEA… BUT YOU KEEP CLAIMING THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE, AND MAKE A GOOD LIVING WITHOUT WORKING LIKE ALL THE REST OF US HAVE TO!!! MAYBE YOU OUGHT TO LET US ALL IN ON YOUR SCAM… WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    What is this scam that I am running?

  • JohnDille

    WELL… YOU KNOW… SHE LIVES IN THAT SAME REAL WORLD THAT I AND BILLIONS OF OTHERS LIVE IN. THAT WORLD WHERE EVERYTHING IS OWNED BY THE RICH, AND IF YOU WANT TO EAT AND LIVE IN SOME KIND OF HOUSE, YOU HAVE TO WORK FOR THOSE RICH FOLKS, AND ACCEPT WHATEVER CRUMBS THEY THROW AT YOU, SO YOU CAN BUY FOOD AND PAY RENT! THE ALTERNATIVE IS TO STARVE ON THE STREETS!!! BUT… SINCE YOU HAVE SOME SORT OF SCAM GOING ON THAT ALLOWS YOU TO BE A PARASITE THAT DOES NOT HAVE TO WORK FOR A LIVING… LIKE MOST OF THE REST OF US HAVE TO DO… YOU CAN AFFORD TO LIVE THE HIGH LIFE IN YOUR LITTLE FANTASY WORLD!!! AND SIT BACK AND EXPRESS YOUR CONTEMPT FOR ALL THE WORKING PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO KEEPS YOUR FANTASY WORLD FROM FALLING TOTALLY APART!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    She is being forced to do this job? By whom? Makes me glad that I left corporate gigs behind years ago.

  • JohnDille

    This is the hidden side of life at IBM , Fujita, whose name has been changed to protect her anonymity, averages 18 to 20 hours of work per day, including Saturdays and Sundays. Her working hours are particularly demanding since she interfaces with programmers in different time zones, including those in the U.S. While her schedule depends on the specific project, she says her typical workday lasts about 15 hours. “I don’t really have a choice
    SO… IBM IS NOT AN AMERICAN CORPORATION??? THE WOMEAN SAYS SHE DOES NOT HAVE A CHOICE… CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU SAID. AND YOU APPARENTLY DID NOT EVEN NOTICE THE OTHER 3 HORROR STORIES I INCLUDED…. IN A VAIN ATTEMPT TO GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL THAT THE WORLD OF WORK IS A NIGHTMARE FOR TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS… AND FOREIGNERS WORKING FOR AMERICAN CORPORATIONS… MOST OF THEM OWNED AND OR TOTALLY CONTROLLED BY YOUR HEROIC REPUBLICAN AHOLE SLAVE DRIVERS!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Really? Now you are blaming American republicans for the long hours that a woman in Japan chooses to work? You are running out of steam. Oh, and busting anything for corporate America is not worth the effort, and is the reason that I left it behind decades ago.

  • JohnDille

    HOW ABOUT THESE WONDERUL JOBS….

    At 3 a.m. on Monday morning, Eriko Fujita leaves the IBM offices in Tokyo. She rushes home to take a shower and get a few hours of sleep before she returns to her office at 7 a.m.

    This is the hidden side of life at IBM Japan. For a period of eight months, Fujita, whose name has been changed to protect her anonymity, averages 18 to 20 hours of work per day, including Saturdays and Sundays. Her working hours are particularly demanding since she interfaces with programmers in different time zones, including those in the U.S.

    While her schedule depends on the specific project, she says her typical workday lasts about 15 hours. “I don’t really have a choice,” Fujita says. “If I have a task and I can finish it within eight hours, then I get out. If I cannot, I need to stay.”

    Fujita’s situation is not uncommon in Japan, where overtime work has increased as firms cut workforces. About 22% of Japanese employees work 50 hours or more each week on average, well above 11% in the U.S., and 6% in Spain, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    Overtime has become a problem of such severity that it is now associated with a host of physical and mental illnesses. In Japan, death by over work, or karoshi, is a legally recognized cause of death. According to Japan’s Health Ministry, over 100 workers died from work-related causes including strokes, heart attacks and suicide in 2013, sparking lawsuits and calls for limits on amounts of overtime work.

    In Fujita’s case, the long hours became overwhelming. Eventually, she took a three-month leave of absence from IBM. “I had a mental breakdown,” she says. “I was working so hard and not sleeping well. Physically and mentally I got so tired… I was crying for no reason. I didn’t know why my tears are coming out.”

    I worked at power plant maintenance outages. Worked back to back shifts with another person. 12 hours plus 30 minutes turn over at each end for 13 hours. 7 days a week for 3 to 4 weeks and then on to another outage. Usually an hour commute each way and staying in hotels. Sometimes working the night shift, sometimes the day shift. Also changing time zones from job to job with up to 12 hours time change. This will take a toll on you. But if a company can make money off of you they will kill you and not even bother going to your funeral. Did this for 30 years straight. Sometimes even more hours.

    I used to work at a struggling semiconductor company working 50 – 60 hours per week, with calls with India and China at all hours of the night. Trying to make up from others hit in layoffs. Eventually, got laid off too, despite great reviews and long hours. Now I’m working contract work where I put in 35 – 40 and have a life and both blood pressure numbers are down by 10 each. It’s a little less money, but I can enjoy my life. Killing yourself for the job just isn’t worth it, as they may get rid of you anyway. I learned that lesson now.

    Some people have an endless supply of energy and can work 100+ without any issue because it’s truly their passion. If you don’t and have to do so against your will then the damage can be long lasting and cause you to hesitate down the road in aggressively pursuing opportunities. You’ll see ghosts everywhere.

    I did it for quite a while working proposals for a major defense contractor. Just an asinine process whereby the government gives contractors a small window of time to bid on massive programs (I’m talking in the hundreds of $M and employing thousands of contractors), burn themselves out to hit a deadline, only to turn and sit on it for a year while they stumble over their own ****s trying in vein to get $ aligned and an evaluation and award completed.

    No one worked the hours because they wanted to – there was no choice because we had to try and grow the business

    GEE… MAYBE IF OLD JOE HAD TO DO THIS KIND OF WORK, HE WOULD NO LONGER BE SO RAH RAH ABOUT THE CORPORATE DICTATORSHIP HIS REPUBLICAN HEROES ARE CRAMMING DOWN OUR THROATS!!! AND MAYBE HE WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT BUSTING YOUR REAR TO CLIMB THE COPORATE LADDER… REALLY IS NOT WORTH THE EFFORT!!!

  • JohnDille

    I HAVE NEVER CLAIMED THAT OBAMA HAS CREATED A LOT OF JOBS… BUT NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT… ABOUT 10 MILLION JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED IN THE LAST 5 YEARS OR SO. THE PROBLEM IS, THE REPUBLICANS WHO RUN CORPORATE AMERICA REFUSE TO PAY PEOPLE FOR DOING THE REAL WORK THAT MAKES YOU REPUBLICANS SO FREAKING RICH AND POWERFUL! ITS LOW PAY THAT IS CREATING MOST OF THE PROBLEMS THAT MOST AMERICANS HAVE TO DEAL WITH

  • JohnDille

    YOU SLANDER ME CONSTANTLY… AND BY DOING SO… YOU SLANDER MOST WORKING PEOPLE… BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS DONE FOR A LIVING… WORK… HARD, TEDIOUS, UNPLEASANT, DIRTY WORK!!! ALL OF WHICH YOU HAVE FREQUENTLY PUT DOWN AND BASHED!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    To be fair, your memory is not what it used to be. But you, Barry, and the rest of the libs have been screaming to the heavens for several years about his miraculous lowering of the unemployment rate and about all the wonderful jobs that he has created, conveniently forgetting that the only job that a politician can create is when he decides to hire someone for his staff. But I will play along, and it is fun to watch you whine and complain about these wonderful jobs also being terrible jobs. Stuff like that never gets old.

  • Joe Cabot

    I love working people. I am one. I work with them. They are my friends. I hire them. They do great things for this country. I will not belittle them, unless they act like you and constantly blame me and everyone else for their problems and shortcomings. Blamers are a weak, spineless breed and deserve to be mocked.

  • JohnDille

    I HAVE NEVER CLAIMED THAT OBAMA HAS CREATED A LOT OF JOBS… BUT NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT… ABOUT 10 MILLION JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED IN THE LAST 5 YEARS OR SO. THE PROBLEM IS, THE REPUBLICANS WHO RUN CORPORATE AMERICA REFUSE TO PAY PEOPLE FOR DOING THE REAL WORK THAT MAKES YOU REPUBLICANS SO FREAKING RICH AND POWERFUL! ITS LOW PAY THAT IS CREATING MOST OF THE PROBLEMS THAT MOST AMERICANS HAVE TO DEAL WITH. INCREASE PAY FOR THE BOTTOM 60 TO 75% OF AMERICANS BACK TO WHAT THEY WERE EARNING BEFORE REAGAN TOOK OFFICE… AND MOST OF THE ECONOMIC AND MANY OTHER PROBLEMS THAT WORKING CLASS AND MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS ARE HAVING… WOULD DISAPPEAR!!!

  • JohnDille

    YOU SLANDER ME CONSTANTLY… AND BY DOING SO… YOU SLANDER MOST WORKING PEOPLE… BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS DONE FOR A LIVING… WORK… HARD, TEDIOUS, UNPLEASANT, DIRTY WORK!!! ALL OF WHICH YOU HAVE FREQUENTLY PUT DOWN AND BASHED!!! SO… IF YOU WANT TO SLANDER WORKING PEOPLE… GO AHEAD!!! THATS WHAT YOU RICH REPUBLICANS ALWAYS DO, ON A DAILY BASIS!!! BUT DON’T BL;AME ME FOR YOUR SLANDERS!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Oh, and you have yapped for months about all of the wonderful jobs that Barry Obomber has created, yet now you complain about no one making any money. Does this mean that you are backing off your worship of the Community-Rabble-Rouser-In-Chief, or that you are just changing your narrative to fit your narrative again.

  • Joe Cabot

    What an awesome and completely expected response. I have never stated that I am wealthy, yet you believe that I am rolling in cash. You accuse me of criminal activity but then quickly backpedal when asked to actually back it up. Then you slander hardworking people who are out there making a nice living for themselves by covering them with the same sadsack umbrella under which you and your crowd live.

  • JohnDille

    CABOT LOOKS DOWN HIS NOSE A PEOLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING… SO YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF HARD WORK… IF THERE ARE ANY… TO THE WRONG GUY!!!

  • JohnDille

    HOW SHOULD I KNOW… BUT SINCE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY ROLLING IN THE LONG GREEN, YOU MUST BE DOING SOMETHING SHADY! PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING ARENT EARNING ANYTHING!!! AND YOU BASH WORKING PEOPLE CONSTANTLY FOR NOT SOMEHOW DEVELOPING SKILLS THAT ALLOW THEM TO GET RICH… LIKE YOU HAVE… SO THAT TELLS ME YOU ARE MAKING YOUR FILTHY LUCRE BY DOING SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE MUCH STRESS AND SWEAT… REAL WORK, IN OTHER WORDS!!

  • Joe Cabot

    Yeah, don’t know how I forgot, given that my pal Comrade John has been yelling it at me for months.

  • berky

    Don’t you know Joe, anyone who wants to make a living for themselves is a greedy republican. If you are not performing manual labor, you must be taking advantage of someone else who may be performing such labor. Hard physical work is the only thing that creates value and if you build your own success, you are an idiot for ever trying. personal responsibility has no part in this world because the government will just handle everything for us and make us feel all nice and fuzzy inside.

    I think that about sums it up 🙂

  • Joe Cabot

    Nice. One of your better tantrums & instead of it being a novel, you kept it short and sweet. Just curious though. You periodically and somewhat randomly often accuse me of criminal activity or wanting to commit criminal activity. What are these criminal acts that I apparently am guilty of or am in the process of planning?

  • JohnDille

    THAT IS SELF SERVING BALONEY!!! YOU WANT TO BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE A LOSER WHO CANT GET AWAY WITH ALL KINDS OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ALLOW IT!!! OR MAYBE YOU JUST ARE NOT TOO BRIGHT! YOUR CHOICE OF PERSONAL FAILINGS!!!

  • Joe Cabot

    You constantly yap about you are an expert on all things government, yet you fail to see grasp the simple idea that the grifters in government are not there to work on your behalf but are there to help grow the government and to help themselves, and that the republicans and democrats work together to accomplish these goals.

  • JohnDille

    STRANGE… ALMOST ANY LEGITIMATE OBSERVER WOULD SAY THE EXACT OPPOSTIE… THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE HELD THE GOVERNMENT HOSTAGE EVER SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE! THAT VERSION OF THE STORY CERTAINLY FITS WHAT I HAVE SEEN!!!

  • FREE4All

    EXCUSE ME…..but the DEMOCRATS in Congress as well as Obama have held the Republicans hand-cuffed for the last 1&1/2 terms so don’t just blame REPUBLICANS for this MESS!

  • JohnDille

    According to data from Bloomberg, corporations have issued a stunning $9.3 trillion in bonds since the beginning of 2009. The major beneficiary of this debt binge has been the stock market rather than investment in modernizing the plant, equipment or new hires to make the company more competitive for the future. Bond proceeds frequently ended up buying back shares or boosting dividends, thus elevating the stock market on the back of heavier debt levels on corporate balance sheets.
    SO, YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT THE REPUBLICANS WHO OWN AND CONTROL CORPORATE AMERICA ARE JUST AS STUPID AND AS SHORT SIGHTED AS THE REPUBLICANS WHO RUN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT??? SAY IT AINT SO!!! CORPORATE AMERICA HAS BORROWED 9 TRILLION, MOSTLY TO PUMP UP THE APPARENT VALUE OF THEIR STOCKS, AND TO REWARD THE RICH FOR BEING RICH… AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, UNDER BUSH JUNIOR, BORROWED HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO FUND MASSIVE TAX CUTS FOR CORPORATE AMERICA AND FOR THE RICH… AND PASSED THOSE STUPID PRACTICES ONTO OBAMA… AND REFUSED TO LET HIM CHANGE THOSE PRACTICES. SO.. THE NET EFFECT HAS BEEN WALL STREET AND THE RICH HAVE BEEN DOING REALLY GREAT…. BUT ALL THAT DEBT HAS BOUGHT AMERICA….. NOTHING!!! NO MAJOR INCREASES IN PRODUCTIVE ASSETS…. NO SIGNIFICANT INCREASES IN INCOME FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS OR FOR WORKING PEOPLE. ALL WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR REPUBLICAN IRRESPONSIBILITY IS VAST AMOUNTS OF DEBT… TO BE PAID FOR OUT OF THE POCKETS OF WORKING PEOPLE FOR MANY DECADES TO COME. AND.. OF COURSE… WE HAVE A HUGE GAP IN THE INCOME AND NET WORTH OF THE RICH VERSUS ALL THE REST OF US…. THE RICH GETTING REWARDED BY REPUBLICANS FALLING ALL OVER THEMSELVES TO KISS UP TO THEIR RICH MASTERS. OH…YEAH… I AMOST FORGOT… THIS IS ALL OBAMA AND THE FEDS FAULT…. MAY AS WELL TELL THAT LIE BEFORE REPUBLICANS REMIND US OF IT!!!