Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hold dollars?

Karl Denninger argues that the failed stimulus will lead to accelerating deflation in the US. His prediction is that demand for the dollar will soar and other currencies will collapse instead. He thinks this will hit US exports and the economy will be crippled, so Americans need to hold in-the-hand folding money - lots of it, maybe a year or two's basic expenses! - away from the bank.

He may be on the wrong medication - the current state of the world's finances is a great impetus towards paranoia and depression; but if he's even half right, we need to start making those quiet, regular cashpoint withdrawals and (for non-Americans) visiting the bureau de change. And not living in the city.


hatfield girl said...

Is he serious? If he is then there is a great deal more to getting a piece of land up and running, and being secure, than he writes. That kind of writing is often a substitute for arguing for a complete social change of lifestyle; not an individual change, a social shift.

Bluntly, very few have the opportunity to make such a change. They would need an extant environment into which to move. And even then it takes years of gradual adjustment to prevent any loss from a previous way of living. A catastrophic change of the kind he is describing would not produce a society living differently, effectively over night. It would produce social collapse. No bits of land and chickens and goats and barter. Social disintegration.

So if he's being silly about that, he's probably being silly about the economics of it all too. We'd better keep our societies running more or less as they are now, for there is nothing else. Except the slowest possible reduction of first world living standards to another, lower and sustainable level. Very hard to bear indeed for the US and the UK. Less unfamiliar to most other countries.

What he suggests would be like the end of the second War when people worked for shelter, wood, grain, oil. Cash was irrelevant. Network and local standing was everything. Those networks can be reactivated but they have to be there in the first place and they aren't for most.

Sackerson said...

You're right, we don't have the social resources we used to have, in the UK. And without them, the physical resources aren't likely to be secure. But in the US, with their different land/population ratio, maybe the Walden option is still possible for a significant minority.

Paddington said...

Hatfield girl - I agree. Not only are logistics a bitch, but it's a buggering amount of work. Plus, to do anything useful requires massive supplies - fertilizer, feed, seed, hay, straw, etc. Since moving to the country, I've been sure to make friends.