Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crash, Bang, Boom

I didn't check the news between about 7 in the morning and just a little while ago...and was reminded of exactly how fast the economy can start to implode again, much along the lines of what happened back in fall 2008, when I went to lunch and came back to see a five hundred point drop.  The stock market is down around five percent, oil is down below 90 dollars a barrel (signaling that people believe that demand is going to drop off shortly, due to the failing economy), etc. 

The big difference between then and now is that I think there's a sea change in attitudes toward the economy and recovery, and not for the better.  In 2008, Barack Obama was elected partly because people saw some sign of hope with a change in party at the White House.  This followed on the heels of a massive bailout package which started triggered the deficits north of a trillion dollars.  People believed for much of 2009 and 2010 that recovery was still possible, that all the measures taken by the Fed and the government would bear some sort of fruit, that green shoots were coming up all over the place.


The debt discussion and the tacit admission that there is no political will in Washington to even begin to take any serious steps to address seem to have been the last straw, the American version of the Argentinian government admitting at the end of 2001 that there was no way to deal with the debt, that the problem had gone too far and there was nothing to do but watch the barn burn down. 

People are still going to raise the rallying cry that the crisis can be overcome, that we can come to terms with the debt and deal effectively with it, save the economy, and so on.  Hope is a good thing and we can't live without it, but there's also a time to be realistic and understand that a storm is coming.  Whether or not this is going to be the last high point on the roller coaster before the big 200 foot drop, or we're going to see more ups and downs, it has to be clear that we're not going to return to "normal" again, maybe not in our lifetimes or our children's lifetimes, that the figurative lights are going out across America, and the industrial world, maybe for good. 

While people make think it's getting too late in the game to prepare for what's going to happen down the road, especially folks who are coming to the realization that things are getting ugly, the truth is that anything in the way of preparation may be helpful.  The position of the Leibowitz Society has generally been that the most likely collapse scenario is one of the relatively gradual decline (in other words, you'll definitely see it coming and not have to run from a horde of zombies), but that the decline isn't going to be linear.  In other words, there are going to be peaks and valleys of stability and instability on the way down.  Instabilities might well cause situations, for example, where electrical power is lost for a time or store shelves get emptied in a buying panic.  In times like this, it will be absolutely critical to be as self-reliant as possible, where "conventional" prepping will be invaluable.  I picked up a book recently, called "The Prepper's Pocket Guide" with an eye toward reviewing it for people who were new to the idea of prepping and long-term survival.  While it's not as comprehensive as a lot of other works, it's a very good entry-level work and has a lot of useful information for people who are new to the subject or just looking for a one-stop information source to flip through on a regular basis.  Recommended.

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