Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aftershock, Wiedemer/Spitzer

"Protect Yourself and profit in the next global financial meltdown".

You may read the sub-head and say "I hope that is a long time", but these guys would tell you that we have not yet begun. They called the housing bubble correctly in their first book "America's Bubble Economy" that came out in '06--something they are NOT going to let you forget during the book, and remind the reader CONSTANTLY.

The thesis of this book is that we have a series of bubbles, and they are all going to "pop" -- once it started happening, there is no stopping it:

  1. Real Estate
  2. Stock
  3. Private Debt
  4. Discretionary Spending
  5. Dollar
  6. Government Debt
While I think a number of their conclusions are essentially correct, I really question some of their overly confident what I would call "pseudo science" methodologies that supposedly go into their predictions. A big one is "Science, Technology, Economics, Politics" ... "STEP".  Page 189 "If our current economy is part of a long evolution of society, life, and the universe---starting from the Big Bang--then there are certain predictable forces that drive economic evolution."

Really? Let's get this straight, the Big Bang was a random purposeless event that randomly kicked off a random process on the third rock from a ho hum sun called "evolution", eventually resulting in organisms that formed cultures and eventually economies -- all without any direction of course, completely on a random basis. But that begets? "predictable forces that drive economic evolution"?  Can anyone say "leap of faith"?

While some of their thinking may border on New Age, and they are clearly liberal in orientation:

p 188, "candidates will step forward who are willing to support real and responsible reforms, politicians more like Franklin Roosevelt than Herbert Hoover".  Sadly, it is hard to be much more historically unaware than that -- both FDR and Hoover were huge "progressives", Hoover was ALL OVER the model of heavy government interference and was taking steps just like FDR even before the election, and certainly during the lame duck period until FDRs inauguration. Another huge parallel to now -- with Bush heavily "progressive", just less so than BO.

p221, box, "The only silver lining to this dreadful situation may be that after a while, people will become unhappy enough with the high levels of violence that they consider ways of reducing it that were previously unthinkable in the United States, such as gun control."

See the very clear crystal ball that these guys have says that unemployment is going to be over 60%, inflation is going to be in the 100's of percentage points, the government will no longer be able to borrow money and this will go on for "a decade", but there will be no real general move to any sort of a massive government re-structure. No, the "gun nuts" will just stick to shooting their own family, friends, and co-workers, so hopefully, that can get us the basic good of "gun control" -- all a matter of what is important to you.

Even with all their slightly odd views, we now have liberal gold bugs! We must have crossed some sort of metaphysical tipping point. P138, "Gold is a rising bubble on it's way to becoming one of the biggest asset bubbles of all time. Second only to the fall of the dollar bubble, the bursting of the gold bubble will be quite impressive as well."

But that won't be for a long time in financial terms -- they of course have huge faith in the system, so recommend having your gold held in some certificates, but since I'm not as liberal as they are, I'm betting BO and company are going to be looking to CONFISCATE any gold that is listed in that kind of account, and giving you a "really good deal" on some "inflation protected" government debt rather than that gold.

It isn't that super of a book ... but as I say, it does break some new ground to see relative lefties pretty convinced it is all coming down around our ears.

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