Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, March 22, 2010 8:02 pm

Quote of the day …

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 8:02 pm
Tags: ,

… from James Howard Kunstler, on health insurers’ reaction to passage of the health-care reform bill: ” … we’ll see how they cope with the idea that being alive in a treacherous world is the fundamental pre-existing condition.”

Advertisements

Friday, January 1, 2010 7:36 pm

“To paraphrase Tiny Tim: God help us, every one….”

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 7:36 pm
Tags: ,

James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and proprietor of the blog Cluster**** Nation, offers his forecast for 2010. From its observation that, geopolitically speaking, 2009 could’ve sucked a lot worse than it did to its assertion that a lot of what we think of as temporary byproducts of a temporary recession are in fact permanent changes, this is not fun reading. Which is why every elected official ought to read it and none will. A few tastes:

* * *

A feature of 2009 easily overlooked is what a generally placid year it was around the world. Apart from the election uproar in Iran, there were few events of any size or potency to shove all the various wobbly things – central banks, markets, governments, etc – into failure mode.  So things just kept wobbling.  I don’t think that state of affairs is likely to continue.

* * *

This depression will be a classic deleveraging, or resolution of debt. Debt will either be paid back or defaulted on.  Since a lot can’t be paid back, a lot of it will have to be defaulted on, which will make a lot of money disappear, which will make many people a lot poorer. … Of course, this downscaling will happen whether we want it or not. It’s really a matter of whether we go along with it consciously and intelligently – or just let things slide.

* * *

I believe we will see the outbreak of civil disturbance at many levels in 2010.  One will be plain old crime against property and persons, especially where the sense of community is flimsy-to-nonexistent, and that includes most of suburban America. … Fewer police will be on guard due to budget shortfalls.

I’ve said Dow 4000 for three years in a row.  Okay, my timing has been off.  But I still believe this is its destination.  Given the currency situation, and the dilemma of no-growth Ponzi economies, I’ll call it again for this year: Dow 4000. There, I said it.

* * *

Bottom line for markets and money in 2010: so many things will be out of whack that making money work via the traditional routes of compound interest or dividends will be nearly impossible. … Those dependent on income from regular investment will be hurt badly.  For most of us, capital preservation will be as good as it gets. …

* * *

The sad truth of the matter is that we face the need to fundamentally restructure the way we live and what we do in North America, and probably along the lines of much more modest expectations, and with very different practical arrangements in everything from the very nature of work to household configurations, transportation, farming, capital formation, and the shape-and-scale of our settlements.  This is not just a matter of re-tuning what we have now.  It means letting go of much of it, especially our investments in suburbia and motoring – something that the American public still isn’t ready to face … and that is why we may never make a successful transition to whatever the next economy is.

* * *

I can’t see Afghanistan as anything but a sucking chest wound for dollars, soldiers’ lives, and American prestige. … We’ve been supernaturally lucky since 2001 that there hasn’t been another incident of mass murder, even something as easy and straightforward as a shopping mall massacre or a bomb in a subway.  [What about Fort Hood? — Lex] Our luck is bound to run out.

* * *

As far as the USA is concerned, I think we have more to worry about from Mexico than Afghanistan. In 2009, the Mexican government slipped ever deeper into impotence against the giant criminal cartels there. … The next president of Mexico may be an ambitious gangster straight out of the drug cartels, Pancho Villa on steroids.

* * *

One big new subplot in world politics this year may be the global food shortage that is shaping up as a result of spectacular crop failures in most of the major farming regions of the world.  … It may be the most potent sub-plot in the story for 2010.

* * *

Reality is telling us very clearly to prepare for a new way of life in the USA. We’re in desperate need of decomplexifying, re-localizing, downscaling, and re-humanizing American life.  It doesn’t mean that we will be a lesser people or that we will not recognize our own culture.  In some respects, I think it means we must return to some traditional American life-ways that we abandoned for the cheap oil life of convenience, comfort, obesity, and social atomization.

* * *

It’s a long read, and it’s scarier than any Stephen King novel. You need to go read it.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: