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The Weather Report---from perhaps not your usual rich guy

March 14, 2007

I'm not big into economics but I appreciate the occasional candid heads-up on what might really be going on in the world of cash (not that it's the real world). I mean, not that it really matters: aren't times always hard or harder in that sense for indy folk? Most of the world "gets by" so a lot of the details don't affect them.

Anyway, friend who runs around fancier crowds than I do recently mentioned that our Arab wars are a distraction both from terrorism and from the far bigger problem of the total economic disaster that would occur if a few countries sell just a teensy few more of their holdings in our bonds. And because we're now the biggest debtor nation and have declining productivity this seems inevitable. Are we ready for trouble worse than war?

His scenario doesn't sound unlikely. If we step back an inch, distraction is a story we've seen many times before.

I just goggled around about this a bit more and came across Jim Roger's website, an investment guy who traveled the world on an old BMW motorcycle to see what was really what. Whew, makes sense to me! He wrote a book, "Investment Biker." Cute.

Now he just wrote another, "Adventure Capitalist." Clever. (But, ouch, that's an ugly car on the cover. OK, there's safety in standing out. Still, that thing is tacky.)

Again, if you're going to get into something going in close and personal seems a good way.

I don't know this guy, and I think we need to keep things on a personal level around here, but if you're into money it seems like he has taken an interesting path.

From yet another book of his I gather that he's big on commodities. In a crazy world, ya know it's all going to come down to corn and wheat and pork bellies. Again, seems like one could be nuttier or more out of touch. At the same time, isn't treating corn like a THING kind of an insult? To objectify it and turn it into money? Yuck. We should use money when we have to. But we need to heed Karl's warning that money ends up using us. Caution! It's easy to let the love of numbers get ahead of the reality of food.

Anyway, just because I've opted for the cash-free life doesn't mean I can't see the sense of why some folks study it. I just suggest keeping perspective: an old Beemer is a good sign. (That fat yellow thing isn't. Sigh.)

I'm assigning this blurb to my Thinking category instead of Reading because I suspect these books are more idea delivery vehicles than true books. I like to keep the cachet up on Reading.

I also read Rogers' summary on world economies. That's what led me to his website. It seems to match up with what my pal said. (Wait a minute, maybe he was referring to this guy's ideas all along?) Foreigners own most of our debt. It's becoming worth less. So they're selling it. If they keep doing this, inflation hits, the WalMarts empty out of their mostly Chinese merchandise, the small towns aren't there anymore to replace them, and our goose is cooked. Every country in a disaster state has had this kind of debt trouble. So, no need for any dirty bombs. We'll do ourselves in. Isn't that how it usually works?

(I think he mentions Brasil doing better these days, now that their huge debt and inflation and military juntas are gone. But what does "better" mean? What did folks who are just getting by do back then and what are they doing now?)

Anyway, here's a link to his report: www.beeland.com/A%20Look%20Back.htm

To win this war, I suspect that starting now Americans will have to start doing the opposite of what every mainstream media figure suggests: they'll have to spend half of what they do. Simple! So maybe we'll see wartime-type rationing after all. (Remember, in the US it's a war of all against all so you don't have to see centralized rationing edicts. In fact the mainstream media will likely pretend it doesn't exist.)

What does rationing mean? It means that the fun we do will go OYB. Cheap and backyard.

Why are we so spendy anyway? Because we live the rest of our lives so badly. We don't take care of the Meaningfulness side. We need distractions from the daily abuses and obsessions we commit. We need the release! Without spending the pressure will build. Our meds are working overdrive already. So we'll have to change. The change will be this: We'll have to get right. With our jobs, our families, our lives. All for the good. The pressure has to come off the work. The twisting pressure, that is. The effort will still be required, but the lying and faking---keys for getting ahead---will have to go. We'll earn less. So maybe our spending will have to come down by 75%.

But I'm probably wrong. Do I have it all wrong? Are high debt, low productivity and personal indulgence a formula for success? I need to know!


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