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The strategic advantages of community building

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by Alt-Market
Posted on July 13, 2011

THE YEAR WAS 2002, AND WHILE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WERE COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH THE SO-CALLED “War On Terror” and other devices of distraction, something much more real and decidedly prophetic was going on in our southern hemisphere. Argentina was in the midst of total collapse, driven by banker fraud and extreme currency devaluation in tandem with government mismanagement and corruption. First, cities exploded with rioting and violence as Argentinian police and military attempted to crush all dissent. Soon after, displaced refugees from population centers along with roving bands of thieves flooded into the countryside, wiping out isolated farms, murdering families, and hunting down any small group of survivors weaker than themselves and flush with supplies. The authorities (and I use the term loosely) were too busy trying to suppress civil protests to bother protecting those who were caught unprepared.

This behavior is part and parcel of economic destabilization, regardless of the time or place in which it occurs. Only nine years ago, a very modern and technologically savvy nation of people, nearly cannibalized itself. Those who survived and thrived did so through family aid and substantial existing wealth, or, the tactical building of communities for the purpose of mutual defense and alternative trade. Farmers armed themselves and formed regional groups along with security measures. City dwellers formed neighborhood watches and barter networks when the mainstream economy disappeared. The bottom line; lone wolves and isolated country families were nothing more than tempting targets at the onset of the breakdown in Argentina.

I and most other Americans have never personally lived through such a collapse, though some would be preppers rather boldly claim to be experts on surviving these specific kinds of catastrophes. I am not an expert, and neither is anyone else who has not experienced a collapse first hand. However, we CAN learn from the experiences of experts; those people who lived through the Great Depression, the Argentina crisis, the implosion of Bosnia, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the ongoing breakdown in Greece, etc. We can analyze their successes, and their failures, and devise solutions based on that which actually WORKED, instead of the random theories of people who can only guess at what life is like in the thick of hell.

One solution that has consistently been adopted and applied by numerous societies across the globe in the face of a stratum of different calamities is the art of community building. This strategy has proven itself over and over again regardless of catastrophic conditions. It is not theory. It is not debatable. Community networking has been proven time and again as a means of subsisting safely during depression, hyperinflation, mass hysteria, despotism, martial law, and even widespread war. Unfortunately, it is a methodology that has gone mostly ignored by many Americans, even those who are well aware of impending economic danger.

Common Oppositions to Community Building

First, we must put to rest those misconceptions that hinder the development of meaningful defensive community before we are able to understand the nature of various organizational methods and their benefits. Let’s examine some often heard arguments against the formation of survival relationships, groups, and focused networks…

1) Other People Aren’t Reliable. I Can Survive Better On My Own…

I’ll be the first to admit that some people are unreliable if not downright pathetic. On top of this, many in our culture find it necessary to exaggerate their abilities or their resolve until they are faced with an actual crisis, and then they fold like a wet blade of grass. Counting on such men is a waste of time and energy, not to mention, dangerous. Certainly, every prepper should have the ability to make it on his own, at least for a short time, in a collapse environment, and anyone who does not have that option is in some serious trouble.

I write a lot about “dangerous assumptions”, almost to the point of feeling ill, because most if not all of America’s problems are either caused or exacerbated by them. We presume too much too often, and it always comes back to bite us. Presuming that one will never be forced into a situation where he might have to survive alone for a time is foolish. There is no guarantee that we will always have others to fall back on, or that we will never be driven from our homes. On the other hand, it is equally foolish to presume that you will not face even worse circumstances while you are on your own. Unless you have the ability to go for weeks without sleep, and to be alert to every conceivable detail at every conceivable moment, it is insane to CHOOSE lone wolf survival over community and mutual defense. Its good to have the ability to go solo, but if you want to actually make it through a collapse similar to that which occurred in Argentina or worse, eventually you will have to work with others. This is not my opinion, it is a fact made concrete by numerous economic disasters around the world.

2) Groups Draw Too Much Attention. It’s Better To Keep A “Low Profile”…

I’m not sure where this nonsensical theory came from, but it definitely didn’t get started by anyone who has actually lived through economic implosion. The root of this strange position is that organizing networks of people for trade and for defense makes you a visible “target” for a corrupt government. At least, that’s the argument. It may be true that more focused groups of liberty minded people are indeed placed on lists, and singled out for surveillance or media ridicule, however, we need to apply some logical thought here.

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China demands American austerity

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from The Daily Bell
Originally posted June 09, 2011

China warns U.S. debt-default idea is “playing with fire … Republican lawmakers are “playing with fire” by contemplating even a brief debt default as a means to force deeper government spending cuts, an adviser to China’s central bank said on Wednesday. The idea of a technical default – essentially delaying interest payments for a few days – has gained backing from a growing number of mainstream Republicans who see it as a price worth paying if it forces the White House to slash spending, Reuters reported on Tuesday. But any form of default could destabilize the global economy and sour already tense relations with big U.S. creditors such as China, government officials and investors warn. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme:
Don’t even try it. Don’t even go there. You owe us the interest and … you … will … pay!

Free-Market Analysis:
We tend to go back and forth regarding the world’s larger financial fix. We have arrived at the idea, eventually that the Anglo-American power elite responsible for the mess wants to push Western citizens as far as possible without setting up full-scale revolutions. The idea is simply to afflict Western Middle Classes with such misery that they will not notice when their countries’ sovereignty is removed in favor of a One World Order.

The best way to do this is to keep people distracted and miserable – hovering on the edge of foreclosure, food insecurity and professional oblivion. In Europe this has been accomplished by ensuring that many countries have borrowed far more than they can pay back, thus ensuring generations of “austerity” (assuming that Europe’s young people don’t revolt against the prospect). Hey, it’s a fine line.

America has been a tougher nut to crack. Americans come from hardy immigrant stock and have tended to be thrifty and hard working, certainly in the past. The Anglo-American power elite has been at work for decades to ensure these admirable qualities are subdued. Result? America’s finances are a mess.

The US deficit is scheduled to reach $1.4 trillion, and the U.S. Treasury Dept., responsible for funding it, needs to borrow more money than it is authorized to do. Republicans in the House and Senate have seized on the opportunity to demand that the Obama Administration agree to significant cuts in spending.

The Democrats, for their part, warn that using the debt-ceiling to enforce frugality is a most dangerous strategy, one that could virtually sink the United States’ credit. If the US cannot borrow, it will have to default on its debt payments, which would likely lead to some sort of devaluation of the dollar. Since the dollar is the reserve currency of the world, this would lead to significant tumult abroad.

China is willing to do its part in this all, apparently. According to a Reuters’ article that appeared yesterday (see excerpt above), China’s top officials have some strong opinions about a potential default in the US. Reuters quotes Li Daokui, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, as saying that a default could undermine the U.S. dollar. “I think there is a risk that the U.S. debt default may happen,” Li told reporters (according to Reuters) on the sidelines of a forum in Beijing. “The result will be very serious and I really hope that they would stop playing with fire.”

While no one seems to know how much US debt China holds, Reuters claims confidently that it is $1 trillion. We’ve read US$800 million and US$ 2 trillion as well. But US$1 trillion sounds about right. That’s certainly a lot of money. Do Chinese officials really expect to get repaid? Here’s Li again: “I really worry about the risks of a U.S. debt default, which I think may lead to a decline in the dollar’s value.”

Ben Westmore, a commodities economist at National Australia Bank, is also upset that the Republicans are holding the debt-ceiling hostage. “It has dire implications for the economy at a time when the macro data is softening. It’s just a horrible idea.”

Financial markets remain steady, but that may not be the case if the stand-off continues. Republicans, Reuters informs us, have been working on the theory that bondholders would put up with a delay in payments in return for a bipartisan deal that would lower US spending and make the country stronger in the long term.

According to Reuters, central banking officials around the world are less sanguine about the ramifications than Republicans are. “This could then create huge panic globally,” Reuters quotes one Indian central banking official as saying. At the same time, India’s Treasury officials continue to buy and hold dollars. The government held US$39.8 billion in U.S. Treasuries as of March.

Of course, Reuters doesn’t mention that countries HAVE to buy dollars in order to purchase oil from Saudi Arabia, which will not accept anything else. This is how the dollar’s reserve currency status is enforced.

The article concludes by quoting Yuan Gangming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that default was indeed a real risk. “The possibility is quite high to see a default of the U.S. debt, which would harm many countries in the world, and China in particular.”

We’re not so sure as Gangming that the “possibility is high” that the US will default, or not seriously anyway. The House is led by Ohio Republican John A. Boehner (about as radical as a mushroom). Boehner is one of a handful of elite politicians, one of the most powerful men in the world thanks to his position as Speaker of the House. The idea that John Boehner will lead a radical restructuring of America’s finances does not seem especially feasible to us.

Of course, a good deal of pressure is being put on Boehner by the Republican-oriented Tea Party, and perhaps this will serve to shove the Republicans out of what would otherwise be their comfort zone. Hard to tell, really.

What is more significant from our point of view is the message the Chinese are sending. The Chinese central bankers, like central bankers around the world are not willing to entertain an iota’s reconfiguration of America’s debt. It’s a kind of dominant social theme – a fear based promotion. We’re not sure it will hold, but the rhetoric is stern. We have seen the same sort of implacable rigor in Europe, where the ECB has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that Greece and the rest of the PIGS pay ever euro of their increasingly unpayable sovereign debt.

The mechanism of American austerity, then, is to be Chinese insistence on the immutability of American repayment terms. What the sovereign crisis is doing to Europe, the Chinese will do to America. In fact, American “austerity” is already here. The Chinese are providing the proximate cause, but increasingly we believe this was the plan all along.

Britain is in the same fix, Europe is rioting, the Middle East has gone up in smoke and Africa is trending the same way. Surely this couldn’t be coincidence could it? We think not. The world’s economic system is controlled out of the City of London via the Bank for International Settlements (based in Switzerland) and over 100 central banks around the world. The Anglosphere elite that constructed this system knew full well it would self-destruct over time.

They knew it in Europe, too. In fact, it has been admitted. The Eurocrats knew that the current system was unstable and would break down. They intended to take advantage of it to build a more centralized system and in fact they are currently doing so.

The wild card, as we have pointed out, is the Internet itself (and the truth-telling it provides), which we believe has destabilized Europe far beyond what the elites expected. They are said to be meeting somewhat unhappily in Switzerland today, as part of the annual Bilderberg affair. War is supposedly on the menu, along with selecting an IMF chief – and stabilizing Europe. There is to be austerity, yes, but not revolution.

In America, austerity is coming, too. The Chinese and perhaps the Japanese (and other creditors) will demand it. But the same realities hold for America as for Europe. There is perhaps a limit to what people will put up with, a limitation reinforced by the Internet Reformation.

Conclusion:
We have no doubt that a chaotic financial situation around the world was intended to increase pressure for a more centralized currency – and for more centralized bank regulations, etc. We are not so sure the current plan will hold. Will the elites get their chaos? They might wish to be careful what they wish for.

Austerity and Critical Mass

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from Ancient America
Posted May 17, 2011

Some say that QE3 won’t happen. The U.S. is done with stimulus and force-feeding liquidity and inflation down the world’s throat. Okay, it’s austerity then. How much austerity does anyone think we’re going to have here in America? What is the critical mass and when will we reach it? How much inflation can our creditors handle before they reach their critical mass and have to allow rates to rise? Paradoxically enough, the real question has become ‘can we afford austerity’? I believe the answer is ‘not anymore’. Due to relatively recent events, austerity has become a mathematical impossibility.

QUANTITATIVE EASING IS NOT TECHNICALLY “MONEY PRINTING”. However, it did accomplish scaring everyone out of dollars and into “riskier” assets. So, while we didn’t print much, emerging economies certainly did as people ran screaming from the U.S. dollar. The result of which has been rampant inflation all over the developing world and near parabolic gains in commodities and equities. We’re left now with a dangerously deflating economy here in America while our creditors are heavily overheated. Not many people have much confidence in what QE or stimulus have accomplished. Our banks have fresh new reserves they can’t and won’t lend while our employment picture remains increasingly grotesque.

With QE2 ending, negative real interest rates and emerging markets unable to afford more inflation, how does the future look for U.S. government bonds? When rates rise, what of the outlook for equities and for the economy as a whole? If the economy stalls and people want to hold onto their precious cash, business will suffer and who will fund our local, state and federal governments? If our government programs can’t function, and people start to worry about their grandmothers, their pensions and their grandmothers pension, what will happen? Austerity? Not over our Masters of Debt’s (MOD’S) dead bodies! But when will we reach critical mass?

Why will congress and the fed absolutely intervene? When you figure it out, it seems almost comical to have ever believed otherwise. Simply put, that’s their nature. Nowadays, it’s what they are designed to do. Given current events, they truly have no choice whatsoever. Did Volcker raise rates way back when? Yes. Are they sort of attempting austerity all over the world? Well, kinda. But that’s not what’s  happening here and now. It won’t happen…not for long. Tightening might come from the emerging markets, but not from us. Just as credit card addicts rarely cut themselves off, we’d sooner end this easy money regime as collectively give up cheap oil. In severe debt situations,  the creditors usually do the tightening, not the debtors. What environment will that conflict produce? When congress and the fed stimulate, ease and shuffle around assets and liabilities in a compounding vortex of fear and arrogance, how will our creditors react when they don’t have a choice anymore?

The first point of critical mass will be when the austerity is no longer tolerable for the government. The second is when emerging markets are forced to let their currencies appreciate. The critical question is whether this can occur in an orderly fashion or not? I think not. Our economy is so over-leveraged that austerity simply isn’t an option. There was a tipping point where the cost of providing tolerable austerity became too expensive for the world to afford. That is the main concept to understand. The bizarre fact is that we couldn’t financially achieve a hard money stance if we tried. Unfortunately, this is a somewhat recent development.

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Into the Economic Abyss

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by Brandon Smith
Monday, 25 April 2011

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/103-into-the-economic-abyss

OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, MAINSTREAM ANALYSTS HAVE SHOWN A TENACIOUS BLIND FAITH in the U.S. economy and the dollar that goes far beyond religion to the point of mindless cultism, so, when even they begin to question the future of American finance (as has been occurring more and more everyday), you know its time to worry.

For those that have been following my work since 2007, the events of the past few months have not been a surprise at all, however, for those just waking up to the ongoing implosion of our fiscal infrastructure, the bubbling inflationary meltdown just over the horizon and the nightmare unfolding around our national debt is rather shocking. Living through a full spectrum catastrophe is, to say the least, confusing, especially when you have no idea where the whole thing began.

Until now, the mainstream media has provided nothing but economic fantasy for the masses. They have satiated the public with what amounts to financial toddler talk for helpless preschool minds averse to any research beyond their daily 15 minute sippy cup of New York Times, CNN, MSNBC or FOX cable news sound bites. I mean, have you ever actually stopped and read a Paul Krugman article more than once? Or listened carefully to an MSNBC economic piece? It’s like being violently accosted by a band of slobbering mental deficients with securitized ARM mortgages stuffed in their pants. Of course, fewer and fewer people are now buying what these hucksters are selling.

With gasoline nearing $5 a gallon, grain prices doubling, and shelf prices beginning to skyrocket, it’s hard for even the most ignorant suburban schlep to remain oblivious to the problem anymore. We are no longer on the edge of the abyss; we have fallen into it head first…

I make this statement not for effect, not to startle people out of their apathy, not even to illustrate what “may” be coming around the bend in the near future. I make this statement as directly and sincerely as I know how; we have indeed crossed the line between economic weakness and economic catastrophe. For those of you who have been asking when the final stage of the economic collapse will begin, that time has arrived. Here is why…

Energy Inflation Overdrive

Here’s how to tell when inflation is about to run out of control in your country; wait for the politicians and bankers to begin making excuses for its consequences instead of pretending it doesn’t exist! Remember after the initial 2008 spike in oil prices when we talked about the prospect of “speculation” as the culprit? Remember also that I have pointed out for the past three years at Neithercorp Press that when the dollar eventually began to crumble, and the price of crude began to spike again, the government would try to blame speculators as the scapegoat hoping that Americans would assume the situation today was the same as it was in 2008?

Well, guess what? The Obama Administration has just initiated the first volley of “speculation” propaganda talking points by tapping the Department Of Justice among others to “investigate” possible trader fraud and speculation in the price destabilization of oil.

Ah! So it’s those devious “traders” and “speculators” out there in the ether that are driving up the price of oil, and don’t worry folks, ole’ Barry is on the case! Little mention of OPEC’s general distaste for current U.S. activities in the Middle East. And certainly, no mention of the dollar’s continuous sharp decline over the past two months from the White House as being even remotely responsible for you being robbed at the gas pump. The dollar, despite intervention by G7 countries, continues to depreciate against the Japanese Yen, and has also slid to a 15 month low against the Euro.

At the publishing of this article, the Nymex crude index is at around $113 a barrel, while the Brent crude index stands at $124 a barrel. Gasoline prices across the country are averaging $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon. Now, some crazy individuals out there may question any overt concerns towards $120 or even $150-a-barrel crude. We survived it back in 2008, right? Why not today? However, this fuzzy logic depends greatly on a very unfortunate premise; that the economic atmosphere of today is the same as it was in 2008. Not even close…

The crude explosion in 2008 lasted for around six months, peaked at around $4 a gallon, and then ended with a deflationary-like plunge precisely because that price spike WAS (for the most part) caused by speculation. This time, expect no peak. Only an endless steady climb as the summer months progress. We have been calling for an increase in oil costs far exceeding the $150 a barrel achieved in 2008 and we stand by that prediction.

Negative aspects of energy inflation will take hold much faster than in 2008, primarily because our economic foundations are even weaker than they were three years ago. Today, we not only have a massive and unsustainable national debt, and a credit crisis still unresolved, but also a privately controlled Federal Reserve with no oversight running amok, printing non-stop since the derivatives bubble first popped. Not even the dollar’s fake reputation as a safe haven investment can stall the collapse now.

High energy costs hit every conceivable sector of the economy, from freight, to food, to vacations, to housing. People drive less when it costs them twice as much to do so, which means less shopping, fewer trips to Disney World, and second thoughts about moving to a new home in a new state. The cost of producing goods hits wholesale prices, which eventually hit retail prices when corporate chains are no longer able to absorb the increases. Your electric and heating bills take a bite right out of your tender behind. All of these factors will snap the thin thread our system is clinging to. America, as we know it, WILL NOT survive $5-$10 gas. Period.

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The System has failed

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by Jim Sinclair
Post Edited: April 7, 2011

Dear Comrades In Golden Arms,
The system has failed. It failed the day that Lehman Brothers was flushed. There is a financial condition of an ocean of liquidity making the broken remains of a failed financial system in the Western world opaque.

There is no future failure coming. What is coming is a mass realization that exposes the fact there is no functioning system under all this liquidity. It is a sharp contraction in confidence that lies down the road. Realize this and know that there is one more step you need to make.

Having the largest pile of gold and silver without considering one more step might make you a modern Midas.

There is more to insurance than simply financial. Shortages of goods and services will occur because of currency induced cost push inflation resulting in dislocations of the organization and compensation in the distribution functions. That means there could be ample food in the system but little available on the shelf of your local market.

Because of the ill-understood world shaping changes in the Middle East, the impact of “Peak Oil” on price has been sharply accelerated. Public utilities considered now as a human right will prove themselves to be privileges. Expectation of power on a constant basis will become a hollow expectation.

If you have not had the experience of living in India and Africa in the 80s, you will have no idea of how to live in a Western World experiencing long term currency induced cost push inflation. Self reliance will become as important as your holdings in gold. To have a huge pile of gold but remain totally dependent on the infrastructure of the Western World system is a serious mistake. You would have substantial capital but lack goods and services to buy. You will be able to afford much, but much will be either in short supply or illegal.

You know more about what is occurring than 99% of investors.

You are the 1% that knows the SYSTEM HAS FAILED.
You are the 1% that knows the system failed the minute Lehman Brothers was flushed.
You are the 1% not looking for some failure in the future but know there is no system below the flood of liquidity.
You are the 1% that has been exposed to the concept of currency induced cost push.
You are the 1% that can understand the future.

Please be that 1% that is not seduced by your profits and fails to take the last step to the best degree they can.

The picture above is another aspect of Sunnyfield’s Farm, [where I live]. It is one of two 20Kw generators powered by a marine diesel engine. There is a special fuel filter system custom designed that allows this engine to run on low grade heating oil. There is at all times 14,000 gallons of fuel buried and available. This fuel is diesel, heating oil and gasoline. This is at best a short-term answer to the predictable failure of fossil fuel electric generation. The longer term solution is wind power banking batteries and a converter.

I will walk you through everything that I have done in hopes that you might use it as a model to improve on.

Regards,
Jim

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About Jim Sinclair
Jim Sinclair is the Chairman and CEO of Tanzanian Royalty Exploration Corporation (TRE: Altanext NYSE platform, TNX: Senior Toronto Stock Exchange). He is a precious metals and commodities specialist. Some of the highlights of his nearly 50 year career include the founding of Sinclair Group of Companies (1977), which offered full brokerage services. Mr. Sinclair served as a Precious Metals Advisor to Hunt Oil and the Hunt family for the liquidation of their silver position as a prerequisite for the $1 billion loan arranged by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. He was also a General Partner and Member of the Executive Committee of two New York Stock Exchange firms and President of Sinclair Global Clearing Corporation and Global Arbitrage . He has authored numerous magazine articles and three books dealing with a variety of investment subjects. He is a regular speaker at various commodities related events. In January 2003, Mr. Sinclair launched, “Jim Sinclairs MineSet,” which now hosts his gold commentary and is intended as a free service to the gold community.

The Grand Failure of Conventional Economics

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by Charles Hugh Smith
Originally posted April 4, 2011

The “fixes” of conventional economics such as Keynesian stimulus will all fail catastrophically within the next 10 years. The next decade will see the complete failure of conventional economics. Why is this so?

If we take the very long view, we find that all of conventional economics developed in the era of ever-cheaper, ever-more abundant energy and the miraculous “low hanging fruit” productivity gains made possible by cheap energy and the tools of mass production and industrialization. Like a creature that was born in the morning and has only seen daylight, conventional economics has never experienced night and so it has no conception of darkness.

This is true of classical, neo-classical, Marxist, Socialist, Keynesian, Neoliberal, “Capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” and so on.

Not one of these ideological strands of conventional economics recognizes the limits on conventional “growth” as measured by GDP, increased production, etc. When the planet’s population stood at 500 million, there were sufficient resources to enable a doubling to 1 billion. Then 1 billion tripled to 3 billion, which doubled to 6 billion. Now, the 600 million high-energy-consumption “middle class” of post-industrial economies is expanding four-fold to 2.4 billion.

There simply isn’t enough oil on the planet, in any remotely plausible scenario, for 600 million of China’s 1.3 billion people to live on an American scale of oil consumption, not to mention 600 million of India’s 1.2 billion, and so on for every developing economy.

As population and energy use per capita have expanded, the curve of consumption approaches an exponential function. Frequent contributor Harun I. has often commented on the impossibility of this curve continuing in the physical world we inhabit. Below: Exponential Growth and Depletion: Chart of the Century? (May 3, 2010)

Here are his recent comments on the impossibility of limitless growth as defined and measured by conventional economics:

Think about what pension funds expect, 8 percent per annum. Let’s think about this in terms of inputs and output. For simplicity’s sake let’s round to 7%. This means that every ten years inputs have to double in order for outputs to double. On the finite sphere that we call earth this reaches its limit at a pace that accelerates. Imagine that today if we were to make two iPads per household. In ten years we would need to make four, then eight, then sixteen, etc. We already have gone from one car per household to two. Since four cars per household is unlikely all eyes are upon China (brace for disappointment).

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In the End, ‘They’ will win

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by Wayne Razzi
from “Rick’s Picks”
Originally posted March 23, 2011

[With debt spinning wildly out of control and the States threatening to revolt against the tyranny of Washington, we asked some frequent contributors to the Rick’s Picks forum how they thought the nation would look five years from now.  In the essay below, Wayne Razzi, aka “Red Will,” predicts that “They” will win – as They always do. However,  before any clear winners can emerge, the nation will feel the ravages of the catastrophic debt deflation that “we” have long predicted. RA]

I’M ALWAYS BOTH HAPPY AND HUMBLED TO CONTRIBUTE AN ESSAY to Rick’s Picks, given the respect that I have for him and many of his forum’s contributors. On this go ’round I have to state that I remain humbled but I can’t honestly claim to feel happy at the moment!  Here’s the reason:  Rick asked that I peer deeply into my own crystal ball, which is actually more of a considerably beclouded marble, to attempt to foretell what the world might look like economically in five years. I take solace only in the fact that he didn’t ask for stock market predictions!

Attempting to compress so many thoughts, countless trends, variables and unforeseen elements into a succinct forecast is extremely challenging. I turned to my markets and business partner of many years, an exceedingly bright fellow, and solicited his opinions. A rarity then occurred in that he and I came to distinctly different conclusions. His side will reveal itself once you’ve read through my thoughts on things that follows but I did find it interesting that he’s in the very same camp as our esteemed Mr. Ackerman.  My conclusion is that he and Rick are envisioning what should happen due to something akin to cognitive dissonance, which I use with the most polite of intentions.  To be clear, I agree with their arguments wholeheartedly. It’s hard not to, as the facts are overwhelming.

String Physics Model

However, he and Rick, from what I can surmise from reading and listening to them, still seem to be operating within the confines of the physics of classical economics.  There’s a simple yet elegant beauty associated with this school of thought but I must confess that I’ve been forced to adopt the more trendy new millennium variety: String Physics of Economics. In this “limitless” quantum view all things are possible which is another way of saying that my partner and Rick are essentially “right” but my bet is that “They” will make them appear to be wrong. My discussions and subsequent pondering took quite a while but I believe that I may have finally latched onto the simple truths with which to approach this exercise. Please bear with me as I opt for several visual aids in place of numerous written facts.

There are many ways to evaluate and frame “things” but choose from the following three or, something similar, as these are what things reduce to in my opinion, and as they’re really all related:
1.         Reality vs. Illusion
2.         Right vs. Wrong
3.         Good vs. Evil

Pictures are worth many, many words without a doubt so I found myself searching for an appropriate graphic to serve in place of pages of words to adequately describe the current situation and to avoid the laundry list of systemic and structural problems that most us are at least somewhat familiar. I chose Wile E. Coyote, above.

I ask for reader participation in requesting that you attire Wiley with a straight jacket and then place an enormous inverted pyramid (preferably with an eye drawn into it), point on head, of crushing debt to the image and with that we’ll be just about there. Now, as you’ve undoubtedly already deduced, this is my summation with respect to our current realities should they ever be seen by a mass audience.

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