What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: alexdecarvalho
Our current economic situation is unsustainable. America’s prosperity—a transitory illusion if ever there was one—has largely been due to the fact that we have long enjoyed the status of being the producer (literally) of the world reserve currency. Through widespread international confidence and shady militaristic adventures, we have, up until now, been able to convince the rest of the world that the dollar is worth owning.
The gig is up.
America lives on credit. While our individual finances may be in order, we likely would not have gotten to where we are without artificial credit greasing the wheels along the way. The companies that pay our salaries have likely all enjoyed easy credit to fund their operations (and provide us with employment). The homes we live in are almost always tied down with a mortgage. The vehicles we drive sap our wallets through monthly payments. And with the holidays right around the corner, America will be pulling out its plastic to finance extravagant and unnecessary gifts.
We have gotten to where we are today only due to the risk others were willing to take. The world bet on America, and as recent weeks have shown, it was a bad bet. America’s wealth is nothing but hot air, as has been evidenced (if only in part) by the sharp decline in the stock market and peoples’ 401(k) funds vanishing into thin air.
A depression is coming, and it’s unstoppable. Why? Because the current system is absolutely unsustainable. The bubble, which is continually being inflated and expanded by the Federal Reserve’s printing press and an irresponsible monetary policy, will burst.
- America is no longer a manufacturing nation. We have outsourced and offshored our factories, our jobs, our self-reliance, and our knowledge of basic fundamentals. We are a nation of consumers, as opposed to the nation of producers that existed in the early twentieth century.
- Unlike during the last major depression, the dollar is no longer backed by gold. There is no restraint preventing either hyperinflation or massive deflation, no precious metal limiting the amount of money that can be created, and no opportunity for Americans to demand a wise monetary policy through threat of exchanging those dollars for gold on demand.
- Our shopping habits and consumption rely entirely upon stocked shelves in the local supermarket. Our fragile network of merchandise delivery could snap as a result of any number of scenarios, the least of which is the lack of funds necessary to make the wheels turn. We don’t have gardens, we don’t have cows and chickens, we don’t know how to bake essential goods from basic ingredients, we don’t have wells, and we don’t know what to do about it. If the grocery store shelves are emptied, America will riot.
- Self-reliance has been replaced with an overwhelmingly widespread entitlement mentality. America depends upon government and the dollars it creates, instead of finding a way to survive on its own. When the system collapses, the vast majority of Americans will have no idea how to make a living, nor where to get that evening’s dinner. Food stamps will be of little use in a barter economy.
- America is up to its eyeballs in debt, with IOUs coming out of nearly every orifice. We have shirked the frugality and sensibility our grandparents were raised with, and have embraced a lavish lifestyle of unnecessary waste and frivolity. We try to reap what we have not sown, rather than planning ahead and living within our means.
Collectively, we lack the ability to cope with the sudden changes and life-changing circumstances that accompany any major economic collapse. The current course chartered by the federal government is only delaying the inevitable—and making it worse. Going through a depression is tough medicine, but it’s what the fiscal doctor has ordered, and if we have any hope of returning this nation to its previous strength and vitality, it’s imperative that we take that medicine and get it over with.
This depression will be far worse than any others America has seen; those who have invested their time, money, and energy into relevant preparation will soon see their efforts rewarded, as neighbors, friends, and Americans in general fall into a state of shock, panic, and desperation. When the nation wakes up to a world where the dollar is kaput, their credit cards don’t work, and the grocery store shelves are empty, we will see what we’re really made of. (Hint: quite likely, foolishness.)