What we have here is not a failure of Capitalism, but a failure of experimenting with Socialism that is now resulting in the breakdown of society.
Good and Bad News
Today, we have bad news and good news. The good news is that there will be no 25-year recession. Nor will there be a depression that will last the rest of our lifetimes.
The bad news: It will be much worse than that. On Monday, the Dow rose another 43 points. Gold seems to be working its way back to the $1,200 level, where it feels most comfortable.
Old People Are Dead Wood
First, people are getting older. Especially in Europe and Japan, but also in China, Russia and the US. As we’ve described many times, as people get older, they change. They stop producing and begin consuming.
They are no longer the dynamic innovators and eager early adopters of their youth; they become the old dogs who won’t learn new tricks.
Nor are they the green and growing timber of a healthy economy; instead, they become dead wood. There’s nothing wrong with growing old.
There’s nothing wrong with dying either, at least from a philosophical point of view. But it’s not going to increase auto sales or boost incomes – except for the undertakers.
The Cure for Debt? More Debt!
By 2007, US consumers reached what was probably “peak debt.” That is, they couldn’t continue to borrow and spend as they had for the previous half a century. Most of their debt was mortgage debt, and the price of housing was falling.
The feds reacted, as they always do… inappropriately. They tried to cure a debt problem with more debt. But consumers were both unwilling and unable to borrow. Their incomes and their collateral were going down. This left corporations and government to aim only for their own toes.
The Cronies Are in Control
Third, the developed economies have been zombified. The US, for example, is way down at No. 46 on the World Bank’s list of places where it is easiest to start a new business. And only one G8 country – Canada – even makes the top 10.
Paperwork. Expenses. Regulation. High taxes. High labor rates. Entrenched competition with aging, loyal customers. All are endemic from Boston to Berlin to Beijing.
Leading industries – heavily controlled and regulated, including defense, education, health and finance – are practically arms of the government. All are protected with high barriers to entry and low expectations. Competition is barely tolerated. Innovation is discouraged. Mistakes are forgiven and reimbursed.
Meanwhile, the masses are encouraged to become zombies too, with generous rewards for those who 1) do nothing, 2) pretend to work or 3) prevent other people from doing anything. After all the zombies, cronies and connivers get their money, there is little left for the productive economy.
The Solution Begins When Markets Crack
Typically, these problems – too much debt, too many zombies, and too many old people – lead to financial crises. Then, they are “solved” by either inflation or depression. And the solution begins when markets crack.
Markets never go up forever. Instead, they go up, down and even sideways. They breathe in and out. And after sucking in air for the last 30 years, US financial assets are ready to exhale. Legendary asset manager Bill Gross comments:
“When does our credit-based financial system sputter/break down? When investable assets pose too much risk for too little return. Not immediately, but at the margin, credit and stocks begin to be exchanged for figurative and sometimes literal money in a mattress.”
Full article: There Will Be No 25-Year Depression (Acting Man)