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Monday, September 05, 2011

Sweet and sour economics

An Australian lawyer has commented on my inaugural post, which was a review of Michael Panzner's prescient "Financial Armageddon". He (or she) says:

I got a copy of this book. I found it somewhat depressing. Don't get me wrong, it was realistic and all. Thing is the scenarios were done in a pretty pessimistic way—at least for my liking.

My reply:

Sourness tends to go down badly with the enviably vigorous and cheerful Australian, but remember the irrationally exuberant times in which this book was written - in a way, it was a spoonful of vinegar to make the toffee mixture right.

Three of the four problems are finally in public debate; the question now is whether the derivatives market will be brought under proper control before a disruption there causes a crisis that the current economic system can't handle. Theoretically there is a counterparty for every bet, but if someone welches on a big one (and the derivatives market is inconceivably enormous) there could be a domino effect.

Depression is often swallowed anger born of frustration, which in turn comes from trying to fix things that are out of your control. The real lesson of this book is to turn to the things you can fix yourself. Get out of debt, develop more than one line of income, build up emergency reserves of cash, tools and supplies, build up and nurture your social network, consider where you should be residing in case society becomes unstable, and remember (as we were beginning to forget in those days) that life is not just about money. Especially when fiat money in its present form may be an endangered species.

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