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The McDonald's Economic Index

The Achilles heel of these economies is that even though incomes are steadily rising, they are beginning from a very low (near-poverty) level. This makes these economies (and their populations) especially susceptible to soaring food prices, which is why at the same time that food prices were exploding Asian governments were meeting to discuss "the global food-price crisis."

This also gives us yet another glimpse at the "hyperinflationary depression" that John Williams of Shadowstats.com has warned (for many years) looms directly ahead of us.

The mechanics here are simple and obvious. Soaring inflation destroys incomes (in real dollars) and thus purchasing power. The collapse in purchasing power causes a direct/immediate collapse in profit margins, as businesses also face soaring costs but are unable to pass those costs along to their anemic customers.

This slowing economy causes deficits to explode higher (as we are already seeing). This leads to more money printing to fund the deficits, still more income destruction, still more profit destruction, still larger deficits. The vicious circle continues to spiral downward out of control.

Meanwhile, as out-of-control money printing causes the prices for ordinary goods to spiral higher, cash-strapped consumers begin defaulting on their paper debts . This is followed by governments/corporations defaulting on their paper debts (as we have already seen with Greece), and the hyperinflationary-depression picture is complete.

The McDonald's Economic Index is warning us that John Williams' (predicted) economic Hell is now imminent. Lest apathetic readers get the urge to brush off the October collapse in McDonald's sales as some one-month anomaly, it comes just weeks after McDonald's reported its slowest quarter in nine years.

When a 21st century world can no longer afford its Big Macs, the message is clear: head for the lifeboats. This ship has just struck an iceberg.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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