The Upside of the Downside

For everything that happens in the universe one can readily find reason to praise Providence, if one has within oneself these two qualities, the ability to see each particular event in the context of the whole, and a sense of gratitude.

—Epictetus

In the movie Ferngully, Batty Coda, the zany bat character loses his bearings when his radar goes on the fritz. He zooms around out of control, finally splatting into a huge oak tree. Dazed, and poised midair just before auguring into the ground, he (Robin Williams’ voiceover) says “Ohhh… this is gonna hurt!” Cue the laugh track.

You could say that America has had its radar majorly zapped, and the shellacking we stand to take is no laughing matter. Little of importance in the nation’s affairs is working very well right now. The litany of ills is extensive: persistent unemployment, a shrinking middle class, global wage arbitrage, huge, huge debt, private, corporate and public, stocks and bonds over owned by investors with little knowledge, and the financial markets and  our governing bodies in the grip of self-serving plutocrats who siphon off most of the nation’s wealth by influencing the way congress makes laws.

There are no easy solutions for an American economy that is not even a decent fixer-upper. Nothing less than a complete tear down will work at this point and this is why we are so divided politically. Half the Congress feels compelled to attack the astronomical national debt, even though it will exacerbate the recession. The other half wants to continue spending, which is what got us into this fix in the first place. Pick your poison.

This is how free economies operate. They grow until they overreach.  The final chapter in an expansion phase usually involves a massive misallocation of borrowed money. The result, despite best efforts to prevent it, is collapse. It is messy, but it is what Ralph Elliott called Nature’s Way.

Conventional economists label the crash of 2007-’09 The Great Recession, and they have been calling for the economy to resume its old pattern of growth. Elliott Wave analysis indicates that that decline was only the first wave down. The recovery of the last three years was an oversold bounce, to be followed by a much larger decline between now and the cycle lows of 2016.

Given the weakness of the rally and economic “recovery”, and the fact that most of the problems are still very much around, I believe the Elliott Wave forecast is the correct one, so I am preparing myself for what should to be the most difficult economic period we have ever had to go through.

Forewarned is better. It won’t last forever, and history tells us that a deflationary depression sets the stage for a new and better economy because the tough times stimulate innovation, something we are seeing now. There is no way to anticipate the next killer app that revolutionizes the game, but hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers and dreamers are tinkering as we speak.

I’m getting close to my sell-by date, but I fully expect to get a taste of the beautiful new paradigm for the Republic. My kids will be fine, but they’ll have their hands full getting past the transition. My grandkids, now, they’re going to be the next Greatest Generation. I’m happy for them, even though I recognize it’s mostly accident of birth. Like the last one, they are just the lucky ones to have been born at the start of a great new era.

Cheers,

Rod

 

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