Towards the end of the 90s, I was expecting a major crash. Then, I was in a laughable and condescended-to minority, it seems. And I'm certainly not important enough for anyone in the City of London to give me a minute of their heavily-overremunerated time. Even last year, warning on Cafe Hayek that America could become dirt-poor financially, I was mocked for my ignorance of "purchasing power parity".
I was unfamiliar with the phrase at that time, but I still think my instincts were right. I don't know what ordinary people are going to live on, in the US and the UK, when everything we used to make can be made cheaper elsewhere and the world's average income (in Purchasing Power Parity terms) is $5,000 a year.
Being right is no use at all, except on a personal level: I re-entered the despised public sector at the end of 1999 so that I would have something to live on when the financial world unravelled. Now, you need to make your own survival plans - it shouldn't (I earnestly hope) be guns and dried food, but what line of work will you be doing and how much can you sell to get rid of debt?
It's not too late. The Equitable Life mess took a long time to reach its endpoint, and there was quite a window of opportunity to get out of their with-profits fund with a reasonable amount of your savings intact. Similarly, houses have dipped in price, but (in my view) nowhere near hit bottom; nor do I expect them to return to current levels for a generation (in real terms; if the government permits hyperinflation, they may return in nominal terms, but that'll be no comfort when a loaf of bread costs £10).
When the government runs nearly everything, as it seems determined to do, maybe "if you can't beat them, join them". Here in the UK, the next administration will have very limited freedom of action, as the present one expects (perhaps wrongly) to lose the coming General Election and so has adopted a "Götterdämmerung" strategy - selling our nuclear power firm to the French, undermining the Monarchy, and generally assaulting anything that will hold us together politically, culturally and financially. In a way, I hope Labour wins again; but then again, it would be no punishment - they'd continue to eat and drink well while perfecting our destruction.
My newsagent told me this morning that he works 90 hours a week. He referred to a Daily Express front page story from yesterday, which said that it was indeed better to live on benefits. I'm not surprised. In ancient times, it was understood that if you wanted a good job doing, you employed a freedman, since slaves were complacent and lazy. Democracy has become a process whereby slaves appoint masters who will feed, clothe and house them.
In case you imagine I am politically biased, please note that I hold no brief for the pack of smoothies that is the current Tory Party, any more than for the Fifth Columnists who have spent 11 years destroying the country from the top. Both seem to see their future as part of the Euro-elite and think the common people depend on their bull****, as koalas depend on eucalyptus leaves.
Abandon all belief in these charlatans and concentrate on your personal life plan.