Our “Silent Great Depression”

I made a post a few days back regarding Mike Stathis and summarized some of his views, but I think the below short excerpt from a three-part article he wrote at the end of 2010 should be shared.  I provide the links to the three-part post below at the end of the excerpt for those that want to better understand what transpired during the collapse and what may happen in the near future to most of us ordinary American citizens.  Although Mike is a financial advisor and expert in his field, he writes in a manner such that the non-financial expert can comprehend his points.

Mike accurately predicted the economic collapse in great detail via a book he published in 1996 called America’s Financial Apocalypse.  In my opinion, and based on personal experience and intuition, I think he has and is hitting the nail on the head.  I am interested to know your thoughts on the below excerpt and if you have time also your thoughts on the three-part detailed post provided via the links after the excerpt.

Excerpt from “America’s Second Great Depression Year-end Update 2010 Part 1”, by Mike Stathis:

….”Instead of the severity of unemployment seen during the first depression, this depression will be characterized by chronically high unemployment combined with massive underemployment. Thus, full devastation of the real unemployment picture will be masked.

We won’t see bread lines as we did during the previous depression because Washington issues food stamps ( Tincup comment:46 million Americans currently on food stamps). But unless Washington decides to provide housing to the homeless, we will see tent cities similar to the Hoovervilles from the previous depression. We are already seeing this today.

As well, we won’t see banks close their doors because we have the FDIC which was created in response to the previous depression. But what good is money if its being printed continuously?

The inflationary forces building up will certainly create severe problems for the U.S. and the rest of the world since the dollar is the universal currency. All of this will put further downward pressure on U.S. living standards for many years to come.

The most harmful effects of America’s current depression won’t be due to a crisis. It will be only heightened by a crisis. The real devastation will be due to an accelerated transfer of wealth and jobs overseas. It will be a silent depression.

In a few years, the real estate and banking crisis will have cooled off and Washington will start reporting much improved numbers; numbers that will continue to be manipulated and boosted by deficit spending.

In reality, things will only get worse. Real wages won’t budge, inflation for basic necessities will continue to rise, and job quality will continue to decline. We are already seeing this now. It will be a silent depression because there will be no crisis. But the effects of this depression are likely to be more severe because they will persist for decades.

You won’t feel the full effects on any given day. If you’re in the lucky majority, you will go to work and carry out your life as usual. But you just won’t be able to make ends meet like in the past. Each year things will get worse so you’ll spend more on credit.

It will be more difficult for your children to move up in socioeconomic status because higher education is becoming an unaffordable luxury for the wealthy. Many younger Americans who are willing to take on the enormous debt burden required for higher education won’t be able to find jobs in their field. This will be true even for the most secure of majors like engineering, math and science.

Some Americans with math and science degrees will seek employment as high school teachers, due to lack of options. This will be an ironic fate, as America’s educational system has been designed to keep the people stupid, all while brainwashing them to accept America’s fascist philosophy. Some won’t have the skills of their counterparts in Asia.

Others will be pushed out of a career they prepared for due to the effects of unfair trade. Some will opt for a 1 or 2-year program in healthcare by one of the hundreds of for-profit colleges that understand America’s healthcare system is a gravy train. Others will work for Wall Street criminals and banking vultures; some naively, others not caring that they will be selling their souls to the Devil.

Millions will be stuck in slave labor, working for low wages and no benefits. But they won’t be working in factories churning out goods for the global economy. They will be working in service jobs, tailoring to the needs of America’s wealthy.

In fact, I predict in coming years we will see an ironic trend in the U.S. Instead of U.S. consumers speaking with Indians in Bombay for customer support from U.S. corporations, Indians will be speaking with U.S. citizens who will provide them with phone support.

Many Americans will never realize they lived through America’s Second Great Depression, because the effects will be spread gradually for many, many years. Most Americans will never be able to fully retire. They simply won’t have enough money to live on. Many will end up selling their home to pay for medical bills, even though they have health insurance. Others will have a much worse fate.

What the “experts” don’t get is that this depression will be much more difficult to reverse because it will be gradual. There will be no urgency. But the effects will be cumulative.

Many will wake up one day and realize that they just can’t make ends meet; they’ll have very little if any retirement assets. It will be a continuation of declining living standards to a point that could lead to some major permanent societal problems.

Economists have claimed that the depression in the 1930s was caused by the failure of the Federal Reserve to open up the currency printing presses. This is not at all true. You cannot print your way out of a recession and you cannot print your way out of a depression.

Although there were certainly numerous causes, America’s Second Great Depression was caused by use of a fiat currency, unfair trade policy, cronyism and years of mismanagement by Washington.

Today, the criminal Federal Reserve Bank continues to kick the can forward by printing trillions of dollars. This is having significant adverse effects, not only in the U.S. but throughout the globe. Instead of deleveraging, the global bubble has been reflated as discussed several months ago. We are now seeing global inflation begin to take off. [55]

Washington, Wall Street and their many hacks have even made preposterous claims that the recession ended in June 2009. Of course this is a complete fabrication.

I want to remind you that a recession is caused by an oscillation of the business cycle from peak to the trough. In contrast, a depression is a long period of social, economic and financial decline. Within a depression you are likely to see two or more recessions. But this merely accounts for the economic consequences of a depression.

The social consequences found within a depressive period are a reflection of the devastating effects of chronic economic catastrophe. But the useless media has used the term “Great Recession” in order to downplay the true severity of this period.

Haven’t you had enough lies, deception and hype from the media?

Despite what some of you may think, there is NO ONE in the media, not a single person that truly understands what is going on AND is committed to helping you. That includes all of the perma-bears and gold bugs who have been preaching doom for decades. If you think otherwise, then you haven’t been documenting their track records.

The contrarian crowd is trying to scare people so they will buy gold so as to pump up the price. At the end of the day when these delusions of gold $10,000/ounce and hyperinflation have NOT materialized as salesmen and hacks like Peter Schiff, Marc Faber and others have insisted, the media knows that its audience will run back into the arms of Wall Street.

You will never win if you embrace extremes. Neither the perma-bear or perma-bull market extremists offer you anything other than a chance to lose more money. Never forget that. So if you are unable to navigate an up and down market, you might be best to remain on the sidelines because even many of the big boys have gotten thrashed over the past two years.

If you pay attention to the media, you are sending them money because they sell ads based on the size of their audience. And because Wall Street buys the ads, the media serves their interests by flooding you with extremists and other hacks. Thus, by paying attention to the media, you are serving as an accomplice in your own exploitation.

I leave you with my best piece of investment advice. It’s one of the rare exceptions of investment advice that never changes.

BAN THE MEDIA.

DON’T READ THEIR NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES, AND DON’T TUNE INTO THEIR TV AND RADIO SHOWS.

If you don’t follow this advice you will be just as responsible for your demise as the media and Wall Street.”

Americas-Second-Great-Depression-2010-Year-end-Update-Part-1.html

Americas-Second-Great-Depression-2010-Year-end-Update-Part-2.html

Americas-Second-Great-Depression-2010-Year-end-Update-Part-3.html

 

The “Human World” without Money, Debt, and Financial Institutions

When you look at the economic state of America, the former beacon upon a hill and economic dynamo, one cannot help but to muse about how the country has fallen so hard and so fast.  But rather than dive too deeply and get into facts and figures and economic / political theory, I want to get to the point and highlight what I think is the core problem — our creation of money, debt, and financial institutions. 

At some point in time, human civilization decided that money, pieces of paper and coins, could represent value and value created. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/history-money.html  Here is the first step we took into obscurity.  I find it very strange that a piece of paper or coin can accurately represent value.  Trade and barter made sense.  Give me your basket of fruit in exchange for my hunk of meat and we have a fair deal.  Imagine, if we could put a modern man back in time, and he was to offer a hunter a ten-dollar bill in exchange for a hunk of meat.  The hunter would look at the piece of paper and say, “what in the hell am I supposed to do with this?”  I have a broad question when it comes to assuming money has intrinsic worth.  How much money would it take to buy the sun, fresh rivers, a bountiful ocean, clean crisp air, and fertile soil?  These elements have immense value for they are the basis for life, yet we can’t put a monetary value on what they are worth — although I am sure there are some economists modeling out the worth of the elements to support the new green economy.  Good luck with those calculations. 

The next step into obscurity was the idea that the money supply could be increased or in current terms printed.  Hey, we are out of money so lets just print more.  Brilliant! There is a limited supply of gold, jewels, and goods and therefore one can make a reasonable leap of faith that these limited items could be linked in some shape or form to value.  But when you can simply print more money it obviously waters down the relationship between approximate value and true value.  At one point money was linked to the gold supply (gold standard), but apparently the powers that be didn’t like that restriction and elected to sever the relationship.  

But Man didn’t stop there.  He also came up with an even more entrepreneurial and innovative concept — the loan.  Why wait until you have earned enough money to buy this or that when you can have it today for a small monthly fee and the promise you will pay back the original amount some time in the future?  Finally, man capped it all off with the invention of financial markets.  Thus the invention of Wall Street and Investment “Bankstas”. Now you could print more money and take out a loan and then throw it all into the financial market and make more money without actually doing any work.  As long as you made a good guess where to invest your money you can hit the jack pot!.  And if your are connected and obtain inside information your chances to hit the jack pot increase.  And if you are a trader controlling huge funds and can move the market up or down with rumours or a touch of a button, your chances increase exponentially to make lots of money for doing nothing of value. 

Currently, vast amounts of money flow so fluidly and rapidly (thanks to electronic flows of money…yet another step into obsurity) through financial, business, and government institutions that nobody understands what is going on.  Watching the talking business heads on tv is a true comedy.  “Well, the Dow went down 100 points in the morning due to the debt crisis fears in Europe but rebounded in the afternoon because an article mentioned that China might step in to help stabilize Italy”.  The most comical aspect is that these talking heads  claim to understand what is going on with the economy and interpreting what is causing the stock market to go up and down on any given day probably make over six figures.  This leads me to my next point.

Money, which has a watered down assumed intrinsic worth as previously mentioned, flows rapidly to sources that we “perceive” to have value equal to that already inflated assumption of the intrinsic worth of money.  If our “perceived” value of the source receiving vast amounts of money is wrong, then we have really dug ourselves in a hole.  And I would argue that our perception of what is valuable is off-base in many cases.  From a big picture perspective, looking at the earth from space and then zooming in on our society, is a rookie NFL quarterback fresh out of college really worth $20 million?  I enjoy watching football especially college, but the amount of money we pay folks for hitting or throwing balls is out of line.  Is the latest and greatest reality star that has suddenly emerged from obscurity worth millions of dollars?  Those Jersey Shore celebs sure are valuable human beings.  I have watched the show a few times so I am guilty of increasing the net worth of these boneheads.  Is the hottest rap or pop star worth multi-million green backs?  I do think Rhianna is pretty hot.  Guilty again.

Jeff Skilling -- President Enron (currently in jail)

Was Jeff Skilling (Enron president) or Bernie Madoff ever worth the huge sums of money they earned through compensation and stock grants?  Do the top earning 20% of Americans really generate 84% of the value in America?  Are 40 million people in the United States (and 1 in 5 children) that are below the poverty line really worth what their measly earnings say they are worth or could be worth?  Clearly, something is out of whack.  And in my opinion,the distortion is caused by the possibility that our perceived value of what has value is way off base and we have made an erroneous assumption about the intrinsic value of money.  Combine the above flaws with loans, debt, and financial speculation and you have a house of cards and misallocated “wealth”.  Two movies worth watching on this topic are “The Smartest Guys in the Room” (documentary on Enron implosion) and “Too Big to Fail” (the mortgage-backed security frenzy).

But what would we do without money, loans, credit, debt, banks, Wall Street, and Investment “Bankstas”?  How would society function?  This may come as a surprise, but every society on this planet, excluding the “Human World”, operates without money and the related baggage.  And man himself at one point operated without money.  In every other society on Earth, including the Apex species, value is pretty clear and money has no meaning or intrinsic worth.  And there certainly aren’t any problems with “perceived” value.  The currency in all other societies on earth is energy.  Some of the more advanced societies combine their energy via cooperation to obtain one of the ultimate valuable prizes — food.  They also work together for protection and ultimately survival.  And many of these societies have been around much longer than ourselves. 

Imagine the sense of freedom these apex predators enjoy without money and particularly debt!  But their societies aren’t free from stress or hardship.  If the society or individual doesn’t find food, they die.  No one is going to come to their aid.  But that doesn’t mean that these apex predators don’t find time for fun or enjoy being alive.  The bond between members of these societies is strong for without each other it would be a very lonely and dangerous world.  Not all members of these societies are treated completely equal — Only the lucky few earn mating rights through various competitions and the prize certainly has value and a bit of pleasure!  Although some inequality exists, they each play a crucial part such that the whole has access to the fruits earned through cooperation.  Of course we would be in position to adapt lessons from these societies because we have an opposable thumb, a large brain, and free hands since we walk upright.  We have the power to create and manipulate the environment around us.  All we need to do is define true value, define our missions, use our brains, thumbs, free hands, and spend our currency (our energy) to make it happen. 

Otherwise, the vast majority of us will remain like domesticated pigeons huddling together looking up at the few fortunate hawks.