The Playing Field Has Shifted

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The Playing Field Has Shifted

On Jan. 27th, Davos posted the following story on the Daily Digest:

Fed looks like one more shaky bank

I think this article is quite extraordinary, not least of all because
of where it is coming from.  Jim Juback is the senior markets editor
for MSN Money.  A pretty straight-laced kind of guy.

This is the same man who, on Oct. 20, 2008 said, "As scary as the
financial markets seem lately, this could be a very
good time to dive into the market or beef up your portfolio."  He is
the epitome of mainstream.  He has a daily readership of 1 million.

You'll notice a link in the above story to an editorial by Juback with the title, "5 Reasons the Fed is Obsolete."   That such a story would appear on the MSN Money website would have been unthinkable just 6 months ago.  

This is just the latest in a desultory series of articles in the
popular press which have been growing ever more bold, all saying the
same thing: the system itself is broken, perhaps badly.  Reputable news
sources are slowly agreeing that this is the worst economic emergency
since the Great Depression, and also that it is early in the
crisis.  This is sensitizing the political leadership of the country to
the possibility that radical change might soon be forced upon them by
circumstances.  If mainstream media is saying it, the politician is
thinking it. 

Everybody (in the political establishment) has heard the Chinese
hinting that the world should diversify away from the dollar.  And
everybody (in the political establishment) saw I.O.U.S.A. aired on
CNN.  They know exactly what higher interest rates mean.  CNN knows
what China's threat means.  Obama himself said "America will not be
held hostage to dwindling resources."  Intelligent folks know exactly
what's going on.  If the mainstream media is hinting that the fed is
obsolete, powerful people have been thinking that change is no longer a
political impossibility. It is a possibility which they must prepare
for.

The corporate lobbyists know this too, and it is at this moment they are beginning to think, "If there had to be a new system, what should it look like?  And how can we best profit under a new paradigm?"

Now is the time to be watchful.  Now is the time to cease
focusing only on the problems with way the system currently works, and
begin to watch carefully for hints that a new financial system is
being considered.  What kinds of new systems might the current
leadership propose? If this economic crisis continues, then I think
subtle political trial balloons will be floated in the next six to
eight months hinting at potential changes to the financial/monetary
system.  We ought to watch very carefully for these balloons.

By the time it is openly admitted on the national stage that the system must be changed, plans for a new system have already been discussed in private. 
This is not conspiracy, it's just human nature: you don't make a public
announcement before you've felt out your political options and reached
some preliminary agreements.

This also means that now is the time to influence those inevitable
changes.  By the time potential changes are announced on the national
stage, the political die may have been largely struck.

I have noticed that a lot of people on this site are focused on two
things:  (1) criticizing the current system, and (2) preparing for a
total collapse. Of course, if the entire banking system collapses, then
all bets are off.  But we have another great challenge as well: we must
prepare for the possibility that the system doesn't
collapse.  If it doesn't, then that means some very important decisions
will soon be made on the conventional political stage. It's a
possibility worth preparing for, as much as the possibility of
collapse.

If we are unprepared to help influence the coming decisions because we
were too busy criticizing the current system, or hiding in our
basements guarding our toilet paper and beef jerky, then we will be
miserable indeed.  

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

jrf29, I must say that is the most optimistic thing I have read in a long time. Great insight but I don't know if there is an historical reason to believe that there can be massive change to the status quo, as you suggest, without force. Still, I think your admonition to peek out of the basement because maybe, just maybe, we'll miss an opportunity to be an influence for change is well taken. I just wish the math wouldn't get in the way. Undecided

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

This is a great point and I think it is an important angle to take on all of this! I fully agree that we should do everything we can to educate and influence policy. I've already stated many times before on previous posts that I am doing everything I reasonably can to this end. But for this round, I will play the realist (even pessimist, if you like).

It's becoming obvious that many of the higher-ups are aware that this is actually a systemic failure. And even if they aren't, just remember that if we understand the history of the elite bankers in the 21st Century, they would be looking at this disruption as a huge opportunity to creating a new system that benefits them even more.

I've entertained the notion that there really is a titanic clash of political and banking interests behind the scenes that we don't even know about. I think most members of this elite class just view people as pawns in a grand economic game. And when we hear all this wonderful talk about a "New World Order," we needn't be conspiracy theorists to grasp that there are powerful interests involved that are attempting to influence what comes after this system. Just remember, sustainability is generally not a goal of the same interests that drool at the thought of loaning money for a war effort...profits and unabated, amoral greed is most likely the major driving factor.

If we are to look for signs of the system-to-be, where shall we look? Do the politicians control the bankers, or is it perhaps the other way around? If so, what are the different "sides" in this battle being waged for control? Who are the players and what do they want? Are there politicians or institutions that seem to be significantly more trustworthy or honest than others?

I would guess that America and Great Britain are likely to stay together on this issue as long as possible. The tight intelligence and military collusion is a key strategic factor in this. And keep in mind, the actions of the intelligence community are not audited or subject to legal rigor - it's all top secret stuff for your own good, you know.

I also see Russia and China being beligerant about a new system and perhaps even joining sides. It could be a good relationship for them - Russia providing the energy China needs and China providing consumer goods. I don't see any real reason to think that Russia and China will fall in with the United States, and I really do think that mid to long term, the Chinese are not going to see American consumerism as truly beneficial to their nation.

Rumors continue to circulate that the middle east (Dubai??) is attempting to implement their own gold standard.

Western Europe could get fairly ugly but I actually think that their lower consumption and lack of military temptation will assist them in the long run. I see the United States and Russia potentially struggling for influence over Western Europe and winning their "vote" for the new system.

Jim Sinclair constantly talks about a "Federal Reserve Gold Certificates Ratio" being instituted at the advice of Paul Volcker. I honestly don't know what this is exactly and information seems sparse. Does anyone have any insight? I take it that this is not simply a redeemable gold standard?

Once the middle east tensions and Pakistan / India get added into the mix, it almost seems that we could be on track for WW III before we see the new system be implemented. That would solve the population crisis, right? It's really scary actually to look forward at just how destabilizing this is at a global level. Never before have so many countries been so dependent on other ones for things like energy and food (the essentials of life).

Just my random thoughts.

Mike

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted
Mike Pilat wrote:

...if we understand the history of the elite bankers in the 21st Century,
they would be looking at this disruption as a huge opportunity to
creating a new system that benefits them even more.

  That's the problem.  Change is possible, but some things stay the same. 

And I think the most likely way the bankers will get their way is through a red herring.  Rapid political change cannot occur without loud and angry demand for it from the people.  Fortunately this demand can often be turned on like a faucet (since there is always a base level of angry dissatisfaction among the electorate anyway), and channelled.  While the public slowly builds up to the realization that the system is broken, the political establishment will be planning the changes they will propose (only a fool wouldn't be).  This planning can be made in the safety of a political vacuum, since the attention of the public will still be focused on discovering the outrages of the old system.

When the public demand for change is finally consummated by the public admission that the system "is broken," that will be the signal that a rough plan has been finished behind closed doors.

I can't say that I am particularly optimistic about the public's ability to directly influence this process.  But the public can lower the chances that it will be completely bamboozled if it anticipates the emergence of a new plan, and educates itself about the possibilities, rather than focusing on the problems of the current system, only to be taken by surprise with the new plan.

Quote:

If we are to look for signs of the system-to-be, where shall we look?

  Honestly that beats me.  But I think we can safely bet that the new system won't come from scratch.  There isn't enough time.  It will come from currently-existing economic theories which have been sitting on the shelf.  After all, they will have to cough up reputable-sounding economists to endorse the plan.  Secondly, on a subject of this importance, I tend to believe that the politicians are not going to be especially corrupt.  Corrupt to the usual extent, yes.  Throwing some pork around to return a political favor is one thing, but few men want to retire knowing that they have sold their souls on the most important issue of their career (in the case of the bailout votes, the pork helped sweeten the medicine, but they were also told on the best authority that if they didn't act immediately, there would be no economy left).

But politicians lack expertise, just as the public does.  Therefore, I would bet that whatever solution is settled upon will end up being sold to them largely by the banks.  Perhaps not be intentional corruption, but the result is the same.

I suppose if we wanted to guess what theories might be advanced, we should look at all the currently existing theories which are conventional enough to have some support within the economics community.  Then, we should ask ourselves which of these plans the banking industry would be most inclined to support, given the new pressures which the West is likely to face on the world stage.  Those are the plans most likely to be advanced, and those are the plans about which the public should be educated, so that they are not completely hoodwinked when it is finally suggested.  

And I don't think it will be suggested all at once.  Politicians are timid by nature, and will almost certainly "test the waters" with their constituants before backing any new plan.  But they won't be looking for what the public will support.  They will be testing the depth of the public's knowledge, and finding out what their latitude of action is; what the public absolutely won't support. Then they will take care of the rest themselves.

Now we just need to find somebody with enough knowledge to say what some of these plans might be....Either way I think we need to change our focus from simply criticizing the current system to keeping a close eye out for what might be suggested to replace or modify it.

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

I thought that this news item would be pertinent: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/373943.htm

Now Putin will be calling for a "New World Order" at Davos. I will be very interested in finding out just what he says...

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

jrf: I think you made some good observations in this.

Your understanding of political movements seems to be very good. The change always must come from the people, ultimately. One thing that bothers me is the intensity with which the "change" word has been thrown around lately. I'm not attempting to launch an attack on the new Prez, but I do get the sense that we are being ushered towards a door that has been created and opened for us, without having good knowledge of just what we are in store for. The last thing I want is a rapidly enacted program that has been designed by the same politicians and banksters that got us into this mess. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not vote for Barack, but I think some of the directions he wants to go in are very good. Still I remain unconvinced that he will even be capable of getting things set straight, and I disagree with him strongly on some items as well.

I agree with you that the status quo is always clung to by those that benefit from it. In this case, that would be mostly politicians, banksters, and business elites. So I think that any truly radical positive change to the monetary or economic system needs to come from the people and would by its very nature be revolutionary. Established governments don't start revolutions, the people do, so it is our responsibility to get the changes we want put on the table. I just really wish that our political establishment took a deep breath and attempted to understand what is happening before "putting kerosene on the fire."

I think a true gold standard is out of the question, at least for a while.

I think 401k's and IRAs are more likely to be confiscated before gold is implemented. This sort of action has already been implemented in other countries.

The American people are likely to remain restrained (in the civil unrest sense) as long as the rest of the world is significantly worse than us. So far, Iceland, Latvia, and many other countries seem to be experiencing much more dire problems than we are.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that there are truly (and unfortunately) compelling reasons for not disassembling a debt based monetary system. Just remember JFK was shot shortly after attempting to abolish the Fed and after introducing metal-backed currency...

I wonder just how internationalized the next system might be. Will we truly have a world reserve currency again? Will the Euro Zone start losing members? How will that impact it?

And finally, I do feel compelled to point out that the global nature of this crisis, combined with the hot spots all over the world and the extremely complex international agreements and relationships do seem to set the stage for more war. Resource depletion without a mitigation plan makes this nearly inevitable, unfortunately. In the 20th Century, wars were major turning points in the monetary and economic structures. Perhaps we could see another round. Still, I find it hard to "sell" a war to anyone now though. There would have to be another panic-mode disaster that strikes before anyone in this country would get fired up about fighting even more.

Mike

 

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Global Currency will be the ultimate result...

It's a matter of figuring out how to position current wealth to maintain value in the transition.  What is the dollars' role relative to the new currency, how long will it take to transition, and will it come about by force (overt or covert) or under the veil of diplomacy, or both...

Can the world economy really afford for the US economy to fail, and/or will it simply try to get us to buy into a bigger scheme allowing those who are alert and educated to position themselves for prosperity in the new system?  What does it benefit the rest of the world if we're all living in the woods?  We're collectively dumb enough as a country to buy into a new scheme so long as there is an illusion that we can maintain relative normalcy and there is something in it for us.  Allowing a SHTF scenario could lead to violent revolution and "they" know that.  Total collapse makes sense in theory, but the game still has to be played by real people and a reality exists behind the doors of power that is simply beyond what we can know with certainty.  I can't help but think that the financial and political elite will keep us in the slow heating pot of boiling water.

I am angry that Bush allowed TARP.  But I do believe he is a very principled and stubborn man.  He was criticized over 8 years for not "caving."  Rather than believing that he suddenly changed his stripes and "caved" on TARP as it appears, I can't help but wonder what he knows that he can't tell us.  There is a reason he went against his free market principles on this.  Right or wrong - what did he believe would happen if he DIDN'T compromise that would convince him to live with the appearance that he caved?

Redundant thoughts here, I know....but I need someone to talk to about this!

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Hi Mike,

A very interesting article.  I think it's becoming clearer that the United States is running out of credibility with the rest of the world.  The only countries that aren't expressing anger with the US are those whose fortunes are so inextricably entangled with ours that they are along for the ride.  The United States has been telling itself that China is along for the ride, too, since we buy what they produce.  But the increasingly agessive statements coming out of Bejing would seem to suggest they've concluded they are not.

Moscow Times wrote:

Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, also attending Davos for the first time, on Wednesday. The two are likely to discuss a Chinese loan in exchange for Russian oil that the countries have been negotiating since last year.

It looks as though you've hit the nail right on its head!

Mike Pilat wrote:

I do get the sense that we are being ushered towards an door that has been created and opened for us, without having good knowledge of just what we are in store for.

I agree.  There is only one situation in which the political establishment will admit to a situation being dire, and that is when they are prepared to propose changes.  We are inching closer to such an admission.  Therefore our energies would be best spent looking toward the changes which will be proposed, rather than celebrating the "awakening" of the political establishment.  It has already awoken, and it is scheming as we speak.

Quote:

And finally, I do feel compelled to point out that the global nature of this crisis, combined with the hot spots all over the world and the extremely complex international agreements and relationships do seem to set the stage for more war.

That might depend on whether a large bloc of countries join with the US in an alliance against Russia, China, and India.  If that were the case, we might end up with the recipe for a titanic struggle.  But if the decline of America'a influence in the world leads to "extremely complex international agreements" which nevertheless represent a more multipolar and diffused power arrangement, then the world might see more smaller wars, but far less risk of a bigger one.

Hi Back 40,

Quote:

Global Currency will be the ultimate result...

  That sounds like a reasonable guess---a global reserve currency, at least.  There's no reason why nations couldn't keep their own internal currencies.  Or else a reserve system where the US dollar is weighted against other currencies. 

That would be a paper equivalent of the gold standard, with the added feature of inflation.  Inflation is a tax on idle wealth, is an economic stimulant (healthy or not), and is a great incentive for people to keep their money in circulation.  Since the bankers make money when money is moved, they are unlikely to want a return to a commodity-based currency. 

Certainly Obama's claim that the US may be running trillion dollar deficits "for years to come" is all well and good, but the countries who will be giving us this money may want to ensure that it gets paid back in currency of the same value.

As far as Mr. Bush, he is not an economist.  My best guess is that he was told on the best possible authority, as was the congress, that if they failed to act the nation's economy might collapse.

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Back40: It's hard to read between the lines about Bush. I do not trust him, but I do think most of the real scheming was done by his advisers and not him. I find it hard to believe that he actually knew some really powerful things and did the TARP truly in our best interests, but it's always a possibility. Still, I think it is more likely that this is just doublespeak and he was just attempting to preserve some sense of legacy. I am not a Bush fan, but if he does get around to writing a book like he says he will, I would be interested in hearing how he frames his Presidency. He will certainly need to cover the financial crisis in it as well as Iraq.

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Here is the full text of the speech given by Vladimir Putin at Davos today: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123317069332125243.html?mod=

Of note:

-He seems more free market than America's leaders, and seems fairly strongly opposed to excessive state control (at least that's what he says)

-He advocates multiple "reserve currencies"

-He speaks about energy security and the looming next oil price run up

It actually sounds pretty good to me if I accept it all at face value. I don't have a particular reason to trust Putin, but I don't really trust Bush either. Still, I think it is important to hear what's coming from the rest of the world first hand before our own media has filtered and tampered with it.

Enjoy!

Mike

 

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

My conspiracy theory / speculation:

I believe that the masters of the world are panicing right now.  They do have a lot of very smart people at their disposal; a lot of people working in think tanks.  I know they wanted Obama in The House but why?  I think the reason for this is that Obama is the type of person that can stifle a lot of disent.  He can give us unjustified "hope" which will suffice for a little while during the time in which Washington (and masters of the world) can find the solution to the problems we're facing globally.  I don't see Obama as the front man for the masters of the world; I do see Biden as one though (or at least someone who will consider the possibility).  So... when the books have been squarely delt with, i.e. when the money/power has been guaranteed to the master of the world again, then what will they do with Obama?  I think Obama is being used.

This is the kind of stuff that I don't think about every day as I watch/read the news, but it is always in the back of my mind as a possibility.

 

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Caroline: I'm not sure if your specific predictions are correct, but I am certain that these sorts of closed door discussions go on constantly without any indication given to the rest of us.

One question I've really had is what plan do the powers that be have to deal with Peak Oil? I mean, at some point in the future, it seems they will have to acknowledge that it exists. And I'm sure they understand the resource problem but they simply keep telling us to grow even more. I don't think they are all that dumb, I just wonder if it's widespread cowardice or a thought-out plan that is preventing them from at least acknowledging this head-on.

 

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted
Mike Pilat wrote:

Caroline: I'm not sure if your specific predictions are correct, but I am certain that these sorts of closed door discussions go on constantly without any indication given to the rest of us.

One question I've really had is what plan do the powers that be have to deal with Peak Oil? I mean, at some point in the future, it seems they will have to acknowledge that it exists. And I'm sure they understand the resource problem but they simply keep telling us to grow even more. I don't think they are all that dumb, I just wonder if it's widespread cowardice or a thought-out plan that is preventing them from at least acknowledging this head-on.

 

I think they already do acknowledge that it exists but even if the supply is decreased by 2/3 they will still have the upper hand proportionately to everyone else.  I mean if the wealthy lose a lot they still have a lot more, proportionately, than everyone else and therefore still have the power.  I think they are very smart but I don't think this intelligence necessarily involves empathy.  That is, I don't think they care about our lack of resources.  I do think, however, that they do care about civil unrest because the only way we'd ever get even remotely close to them is a position similar to the French Revolution where the aristocracy finally ended up at the guillotine.  That is what they are afraid of.  They will use the military but the military is only effective depending...  The PTB want to stifle as much civil unrest as possible hence, I believe, the reason for Obama.  I like Obama BUT he seems to be the perfect candidate for the job (for the masters of the world-- if this conspiracy really does exist).  Pure transparency of the government (as Obama's goal) is the very strategy that misleads the larger public into thinking that our government is benevolent and is performing for us; but I think the government has found the best strategy in that they are performing for the PTB (and they don't even know it).  Transparency is good if and only if it is effective in improving the conditions of this country.  What good is transparency if we are still starving?

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Adding on to what back40 said earlier, here are some quotes coming from Obama's discussion with the House Repulicans on the stimulus bill: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/01/scenes-from-a-3.html

If we are to believe what Obama says, it seems that he finds many reason to dislike the bill and the spending, but he insists that we must do it now anyway. It does make me wonder if there isn't something that he and Bush know that might be affecting the game a little bit. Again, I think most of this is due to hardcore Keynesian economic "expert" advisers, but I am entertaining the possibility that something a little less obvious is afoot.

Mike

 

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

I loved Obama's condemnation of Wall Street's $18.4 billion in
bonuses -- financed with taxpayer money -- as 'shameful' and
'irresponsible.'

I agree with him, of course. But when Senator
Obama voted for tranche no. 1 of the $700 billion bailout, Hank
'Goldman Sachs' Paulson was in charge of the Treasury.

This was
precisely analogous to putting a fox in charge of the henhouse on
Friday night. Coming back on Saturday morning, you find nothing but a
pile of feathers.

'Why you bad, BAD fox,' you shout accusingly. 'You shameful, irresponsible fox. How DARE you eat those innocent baby chickens?'

With a wide grin, Mister Fox shows his shiny teeth and burps. 'But .. that's what I DO,' he explains.

And that's what Wall Street does, Mr.President. Swallows your money,
burps, and then complains 'When do we get PAID, anyway? Youse want us
to crash da markets? Huh?''

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

First, thank you JRF29 for an excellent post and such clear thinking and writing.

I have heard Obama hint directly (if such a thing is possible) at changing social security at least twice.  He's also reminded us all that it's gonna be a long and tough road ahead.  I also know he's listening to people like Buffet, Soros, and who knows who else.  Now, these people may have their own interest in mind, but they're not idiots.  They know that TSHTF is a real possibility and they know that if TSHTF their ability to maintain power is dubious at best.

I wouldn't bother listening to Putin.  He needs us more than we need him, and they're bleeding money right now due to the collapse of oil.  I would listen to our friendly neighborhood banker, aka China.  They really have the most leverage in all of this, and it's obvious from several high-level statements from them that they know exactly what's going to happen to all those bonds of ours they own. 

Anyway, referring to the crux of your post, JR, I am not optimistic that the masses can be educated about what's going on in such a short amount of time, especially when they are in state of fear and perhaps soon, shear panic.  I am hopeful that Obama, due to his popularity, will have enough goodwill on part of the people that he can manage to quell violence and rioting, and convince us to agree to the measures that are necessary to get us out of this.  I am equally worried that Obama is a statist, a Keynesian, and an elitist, and that the path he may convince the masses to take will be one that will only exacerbate our problems and put the nail in the coffin so to speak.  Hopefully, he chooses the right advice.

If he doesn't, I do believe the US will enter a multi-decade recession and a few states seceding from the union is not out of the realm of realism.  

 

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Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted

Hi Patrick, 

I think I largely agree with you.  I am an optimist, but not an idealist.  I think the chances of the public being educated in a reasonable amount of time are slight.  I might even say that a large swath of the population can never be adequately educated on these issues, beyond the susceptibility for confusion or misdirection.  But, perhaps our elected representatives can be.  People like Obama have no economic background, and most of the people in the federal congress are lawyers by trade (which is appropriate: their job is writing laws).  Most of them never gave the Federal Reserve a 2nd thought until a few months ago.

But now they're thinking about it a lot, just like the public.  They're thinking, "This is an awfully large amount of money we're spending.  Are they certain this is the best way to deal with the problem?  How are we going to pay all this money back?  Is there a possibility that I'll have to face these problems while I'm still in office?"  Once representatives realize the can might not be able to be kicked further down the road, they'll develop a keener personal interest in these problems.  There is a sporting chance of educating them in time.  Decisions will still involve the usual favoritism, cronyism, and perhaps some outright corruption, but if we're lucky, at least they won't be made by people with no understanding at all.  My point is that news articles like the ones linked to suggest they are thinking about it right now.  And we should keep a close eye out for the early fruits of their thinking, because that's where the action is going to be.  People are waking up to the fact that major changes may have to be made.

Patrick Brown wrote:

I wouldn't bother listening to Putin.  He needs us more than we need
him, and they're bleeding money right now due to the collapse of oil. 
I would listen to our friendly neighborhood banker, aka China.  They
really have the most leverage in all of this, and it's obvious from
several high-level statements from them that they know exactly what's
going to happen to all those bonds of ours they own.

  True.  Although institutionally China might not have fully awakened.  I think it's accurate to say some people in the Chinese government know exactly what will to happen to their reserves.  But China has an enormous stake in the dollar, as the lion's share of its national savings are denominated in dollars.  If you are the people whose job it is to manage the nation's currency reserves, if you want to live to retirement it's in your interest not to readily admit to the political leadership that you've made one of the largest fiscal blunders in history.  The people in charge of the reserves will undoubtedly want to break the news to their economically ignorant superiors gradually, and ideally make it look like events are just now taking the situation in directions they could not have anticipated. 

Patrick Brown wrote:

I also know he's listening to people like Buffet, Soros, and who knows
who else.  Now, these people may have their own interest in mind, but
they're not idiots.  They know that TSHTF is a real possibility and
they know that if TSHTF their ability to maintain power is dubious at
best. 

  If it's economic power you're speaking of, then I agree.  But If it's handled correctly, a crisis can offer the biggest opportunities to grab political power.  The federal government made an enormous power grab during the Great Depression, and has been exercising those powers ever since.  There was another large power grab after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and today the federal government uses powers granted by the patriot act is used in routine criminal cases which have little or nothing to do with terrorism.  In fact, it is almost always during periods of crisis that greater power is attained. 

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 23 2008
Posts: 1503
Re: The Playing Field Has Shifted
Quote:

  If it's economic power you're speaking of, then I agree.  But If it's
handled correctly, a crisis can offer the biggest opportunities to grab
political power.  The federal government made an enormous power grab
during the Great Depression, and has been exercising those powers ever
since.  There was another large power grab after the 2001 terrorist
attacks, and today the federal government uses powers granted by the
patriot act is used in routine criminal cases which have little or
nothing to do with terrorism.  In fact, it is almost always during
periods of crisis that greater power is attained.

That's a damn good point, JR.  Unless it's the kind of crisis that results in an overthrow.  Not that I think that's likely, but maybe a collapse of our centralized government (due to bankruptcy) and a return to true Federalism is in the realm of possibilities.  It wouldn't necesarilly be bloody, or even planned.  We may just fall into a state of semi-chaos/anarchy for a while after the central gov and state govs go bankrupt and basically put up a "Sorry We're Closed" sign.  Leadership, jurisdictions and new local and state forms of government would eventually reform, and maybe one day a re-invented federal government.  If that's the way this goes, there will be a lot of time for debating, planning and educating.  And maybe once the SHTF and "the worst" isn't a could-be but an-is, people will be more likely and open to listening.  Anticipation is often worse than reality if you know what I mean.  

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