Submitted by Luke Eastwood,
Since the crash of 2008 much has been made of the fact that the world did not end or the sky fall in on us – unless of course you are one of the people who have been touched by bankrupcy, homelessness, addiction or even suicide as a result of the crash. The truth is that, since the financial collapse, life has not improved, improved very little or even got worse for a huge number of individuals around the world.
Many political and financial pundits have highlighted the fact that the problems that caused the sub-prime crisis and subsequent bank collapses around the world are in fact a systemic problem. However, it appears that very little has been done to remedy the situation. The basic problem is not complex at all – it is very simple in fact:
All closed systems have limits and the economic and ecological world system is nearing the limits of tolerance.
The main beneficiaries of the current system are a tiny minority (often referred to as the 1%), which is in fact growing smaller, further exacerbating imbalance.
No attempt has been made to address a flawed system that is ultimately unsustainable – papering of the crack is all that has occurred.
If you accept the 3 points above then it is easy to see that we are not in fact headed anywhere better in the short or medium term. If no attempts are made to deal with the distribution of capital, the availability of financially meaningful employment, the facilitation of resources and investment in genuinely productive and beneficial enterprises then circumstances will continue to deteriorate.
The short to medium term solution to the 2008 crisis was quantitative easing, or stimulus, however many would argue that the stimulus was given to the arse when it needed to be given to the brain of the patient. Stimulus in the wrong place is of no benefit if the system remains unchanged, or if the beneficiaries only gain more from maintaining the status quo, instead of engaging in reform.
So here we are in 2020, QE or stimulus never ended, although somewhat declining in recent years, it has now been ramped up again to frightening levels. We now have a situation where the broken system of 2008 is still broken but now with a level of leveraging across countries and corporations that is eye-wateringly catastrophic. If this is not a black swan moment in itself, the fact that we have to contend with COVID19, political and social unrest, locust plagues in Africa and Asia, increased threat of war, plus increased protectionism and nationalism should be ringing everyone’s alarm bells.
There is a significant drag in the system, a time delay or delayed reaction if you will. I personally regard this as being about 6 months lag between disaster A and full comprehension of the impact of disaster A. This is then followed by the repercussions of this new understanding, which is from that point onwards is reflected in financial markets, on main street, employment levels, the media and in every day life. At this moment we are seeing or are about to see Q2 figures from across the world, which is the beginning of the comprehension of disaster A, and a growing awareness that disasters B, C, D and E are in progress right now.
Preppers have long been derided as maniacs who see doom and gloom and impending disaster around every corner. While many of these people and social/financial commentators may have been wrong about the timing, they have been right all along about the systemic weakness and the strong likelihood of an implosion that could gut societies all across the world. It may have been fun to have a good laugh at ‘Johnny no mates’, filling his plastic bins with non-perishable foods and buying gold coins, but now Johnny is not look so stupid any more.
The full impact of the coming financial devastation is a long way off, what we have seem this year is just the entré, a small taste of what is to come. I would suggest that Q3 and Q4 will yield results of unprecedented disaster that will lead to a mass exodus from financial markets, a collapse of the derivatives market, commercial and domestic property collapse and possibly the insolvency of many large financial institutions and corporations across the world.
For those who have not prepared at all for the coming economic and social chaos, I would to suggest that right now is a good time to start – as soon as you have finished reading this article! Those with a high level of debt would be wise to pay it off if they have the ability to do so. Those with financial assets likely to be devalued by a stock market slide, derivatives collapse etc would be wise to get out while the getting is good. Those that have property that is expensive, costly to maintain and not generating income would also be wise to sell it while it still retains any quantifiable value.
In my own case, I have sold my home which had an unsustainable mortgage and cleared that debt. I have made arrangements to settle all other borrowings within the next 12 months. I have relocated to a low population area, living in a very affordable rented home. I have changed job and now work part-time as a government employee in a pensionable job. I also have a supply of non-perishable food that will last 3-6 months, tools and equipment to deal with lack of supply and a shared ‘allotment’ near by, to grow food. I also have a reasonable supply of 1oz silver coins and bars, which should hopefully retain some purchasing value when the hyperinflation eventually hits.
My own prepping is fairly minor, compared to some, however I feel adequately prepared to ride out the inevitable storms that are coming our way. I would not have revealed these steps in the past, given the general derision of most people towards those preparing for disaster. I would most likely be lumped in with the ‘tin foil hat’ conspiracists for taking steps to avoid destitution, hunger and the disintegration of my personal situation, brought on by events beyond my control. Now that we have finally arrived at the ‘perfect storm’ people like me are not looking like fools any more.
In truth it is the people with zero vision, foresight and planning who are going to look stupid. It is those who have sleep-walked through the last decade and done nothing to safeguard their own future who will be feeling stupid very soon. However, total disaster is not upon us just yet – it is still in the post. There is still time to sell up, move house, change career, pay off debt. If you have not already analysed your life and its future viability, in the face of unprecedented change, now would be a very good time to start.
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Luke Eastwood is a horticulturist and writer, living in Ireland. He has formerly worked in the financial industry in UK, journalism, publishing, design, advertsing and marketing. You can read more of his work at lukeeastwood.com