Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Front row at the collapse circus
What's really going on with the economy? The stock market is acting out. Gold is doing some interesting things of late. Crypto currencies like Bitcoin are volatile as heck. Commodities, most notably oil, appear to be in a depressive cycle. There's some who speculate that we are in a financial period similar to the Roaring 20s, the time leading up to the Great Depression.
From my perspective all I can say is darn if I know. It's not like I have a degree in economics or anything. Of course, plenty of people with high degrees and fancy titles said in 2008 there would never be a housing collapse. One can't but help wonder if a degree in economics is similar to a degree in alchemy, tarot reading or some other pseudoscience.
That's great fun and all, but at some point the little guy on the ground has to make his way in this crazy world. The simple minded just go: Yee ya! Gas is cheap again and I kin go mudding wit ma four by four. Never mind the last time gas was this price he might have had a decent factory job instead of a minimum wage service gig.
It's funny how at one time simple virtues could do the trick. All a man had to do was regularly show up to work on time and sober and he could make a living. He didn't have to be especially educated or clever. That's not to say he was dumb. No, he learned the ins and outs of his midget widget making machine and got the job done. He had work. Maybe he belonged to church that keep him from going too far astray. The schools were good enough that his kids went to school with the sons of doctors and judges.
Now the sons of the rich and the sons of the poor never meet. Gated communities and private schools keep the haves and have nots apart. Simple virtues don't put enough food on the table these days. The churches that once claimed moral leadership have lost their way. Their leaders revealed to be perverts and thieves.
Even being clever and educated does not guarantee any sort of financial success -or even basic sustenance.
So what's a person to do? Is this the calm before the storm? Capitalism's last gasp? Just a slightly significant statistical ripple on the sea of smooth financial sailing? Dang if I know.
What I do know is that most of us aren't have enough fun. Sure, prepare for hard times, but don't forget to live a little. Looking back on life, how many of us have usually worried about the wrong things? The stuff that gets us sneaks up from behind in the dark. Then all we can do is muddle though. That's not a bad lesson. Of course, it helps to have some muddling tools and skills.
So I fill up the fuel tank of my van with fuel a lot cheaper than it was 6 months ago and feel a bit uneasy wondering what big macro financial movements are in the works. Then I remember that it's not my responsibly, nor is there much I can do to influence the forces of History. What I can do is live within my personal code and yes, even have some fun. Life is to important to not have fun.