In Australia (as in the UK, as I think I showed here), the nation owes more money than it has in savings, so it depends on foreign investment.
If interest rates fall, foreign capital will go away to where it can earn more. This reduces the demand for our currency and makes it cheaper. So goods we sell to foreigners get cheaper, and things they sell us get more expensive. They buy more from us, we buy less from them (or they have to cut their prices so we can afford their stuff). More money comes into our economy; all well again.
- What if , thanks to decades of spending lots without earning much (and borrowing the difference), we no longer make things foreigners want?
- What if they sell us things we can't do without, and won't cut their prices?
What can they take? In Australia, there are mineral deposits the Chinese will want, thinks the Contrarian Investor. Here in the UK, maybe some remaining profitable businesses and valuable technical expertise, maybe patents and secret technologies. And it's not only the Chinese that have been lending us their surpluses. We have other creditors.
Then, as the laden carts depart and the keys of the mansion are handed to the new owners, the decayed gentry become vagrants and vagabonds.
Unless we are too dangerous to dun. Perhaps America is; can we be so? And what if our creditors are not certain of our might? Uncertainty can trigger inappropriate actions. There is a Chinese saying, I believe: fear a weak enemy. Catastrophe can be avoided, but unless our leaders are tough with us now, we will learn a harder way later.
But if the master has become poor, what of his servants?
What if, like me, you're not one whose power and social status protects him from the worst effects? Do you believe that democratic societies can do the right thing? If not, this is a time for individuals to make their own quiet plans and preparations.