Friday, February 27, 2009

Time to Downsize America's Collective Ego

As the nation's economy implodes around us, it might be a good time to re-evaluate our basic values. Considering the fact that the Japanese economy dropped by 10% in a single month this past January, which left thousands in Tokyo without a job, and desperate to find a way to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world, many turned to renting $20 dollar a day rooms that are barely larger than a closet. Others have taken to living in tents, and cars. Similar things are happening in the worst hit areas of the US.

Though I doubt people in the US will suffer the way the poor in developing countries will. It annoys me that the world's three riches men have more personal income than the world's 48 poorest countries combined and worldwide billions of people live on less than $2 dollars a day. But justice is a topic for another day.

For the majority of Americans it is a good time to consider ways to economize and downsize. (Check this out - Tumbleweed

In the 1930's, economic hardships changed the character of the American people. Sayings such as "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" became common. People were forced to make tough choices. Americans became more compassionate when they saw their hardworking, self reliant neighbors humbled by the tough times. The kids who arrived at school without shoes and big patches on the knees of their pants weren't laughed at, ridiculed or shunned. (What a contrast to today's standards where kids feel inferior if they wear a WalMart "NoLogo" brand of shoes to school.

The housing bubble set the trend in housing toward ever larger and larger homes. Observing from a distance to me it seemed that America was also in the midst of an ever expanding bubble of arrogance represented by the neoconservative's concept of American "Exceptionalism" (the notion that America has been chosen by God to have dominion over the world). Bush's arrogant leadership style is the hallmark of elitist thinking. (Bush called himself "the Decider." And despite his disapproval rating his administration claimed he had a mandate to rule). The idea that America is too big and too powerful to ever possibly fail should be forever cast from our collective concept of ourselves. Pride goes before a fall. It is time for Americans to wake up the delusional self adoration we have had the habit of promoting among ourselves, calling it patriotism. Sorry, I hate to tell you this but America is not number one.

It is time for Americans to "get real" and find our true place in the world and perhaps, eventually, by self-reliance and hard work, re-create the great nation we once were. In the mean time its probably a good time to downsize your personal lifestyle, by cutting out as many of the non-essentials as possible and redirecting your time and attention from entertainment pastimes to productive activities.

Our focus should shift away from consumption to the production of durable "goods and quality of life enriching services" Our "Conehead" over consumption compulsion has nearly devastated the planet. Over consumption is unjust, spiritually bankrupt and both physically and emotionally self-destructive. (The absurdity and injustice of the situation is easily seen when you compare the life of 10 year old Indonesia girl, laboring 14 hours a day in a piece-work garment factory to produce consumers goods for the overweight middle class woman who drives her Lexus to a super-mall, then rides the escalator to the gym where she works out on a treadmill to lose weight.)

Its not right for Americans to get fat and sassy as others around the world suffer and sacrifice to make our life easier. And worse we are literally impoverishing our children and grandchildren to do it.

It is time to downsize America's collective ego.

-Watch This Report on Job Losses in Japan - Report

-Compare US to China - Superpower China Built by Unseen Hands

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How to Pop a Housing Bubble

One of the nice things about Twitter are the nice people who share valuable links they have found. I liked this so much I decided to embed it here. I hope you enjoy it.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Gerald Celente - Profit from Doom

I have been speculating about what the coming years might be like. And I like to consider some of the predictions being made available on the net. I stumbled on Gerald Celente who is noted for predicting the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union. His website Trends Research Institute offers the Trends Newsletter. The purpose and focus of the Trends Journal is to inform readers of future trends and provide strategies on how to prepare and profit from what lies ahead. I read a couple of them and realized his stuff sounds very similar to what others like Peter Schiff have been saying. He describes himself as a "political atheist" and "citizen of the world". That sounded good to me. Then I watch a few YouTube Videos and listened to a few of his audio interviews with Jeff Rense. I agree with some of his observations but the guy started sounding like a crazed conspiracy theorist, or political polemicists. I just couldn't stand to listening to him after a while.

He predicts the worst depression in history along with an out break of violent protests, tax rebellions, food riots and the return of victory gardens. His advice - buy gold and income producing assets. He's no intellectual. And I don't think I need him to inform me of future trends or strategies on how to prepare and profit from what lies ahead.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Major Change Coming - Future Shock

"The next 20 years will be totally different than the last 20 years." - Chris Martenson

What if China suddenly started dumping their Treasury holdings in an opening gambit of an economic war? What could the Federal government do to hold up the value of our fiat currency?

How has our unprecedented level of foreign debt effected our National security? Can we really expect China and other countries to prop up the dollar and our government? At some point the Chinese will see that they don't really need the US export market - that is whats left of it.

There is no way of knowing, at this point, whether the global banking system will continue to use dollar based transactions or instead turn to the Euro or some combination of currencies to conduct business.

see - The Crash Course

Brother Can You Spare a Dime

Rare and improbable events do occur much more than we dare to think. Our thinking is usually limited in scope and we make assumptions based on what we see, know, and assume. Reality, however, is much more complicated and unpredictable than we think.

However predictable and solid the financial markets seemed to some economists a few years ago, and however improbable the current collapse of the international banking system, it is actually unfolding before our eyes.

Why has it come as such a surprise to Wall Street and banking officials? Weren't there any indicators? How was Peter Schiff and others able to see the hazards in the road ahead?

Looking back on the events of the past 20 years it seems the evidence of trouble was present but so too were those who were addicted to putting a positive spin on the economic data.

Voodoo economics prevailed. The dominant economic theories seemed to promise ever expanding prosperity. Peter Schiff and Ron Paul were ridiculed and scorned for their warnings of impending doom. Few wanted to hear about or plan for a collapse that they deemed impossible.

But the Black Swan, however improbable did appear. And our predominant, cherished computer models failed to predict its coming. And we now feel the tightening grip of an uncertain future. Will we have shortages? Will we experience deflation or hyper-inflation?

How did we get here? Who is to blame? What will the coming years be like? Will the economic stimulus succeed or will it make things worse? If it succeeds in the short term will it lead to a strong economy or merely to a prolonged depression?