Friday, May 29, 2009

More to Come

Sorry for the shortages of posts this week and the lack of replies to emails - work has been very busy. More to come soon. Continue to enjoy this corrective phase, shore up your personal position and be ready for big things in a few months.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Astounding

This is "magical thinking" on steroids. If I just wish hard enough, then bad things won't happen. So, let's just filter out anything that makes us nervous or might be sending a signal that we don't like:

Recession Blocker
All this irresponsible talk of recession only makes it more likely. Do your bit for the economy by only reading the news through this web browser, which blacks out unwelcome words. Type in the address of your favourite news site below:

How about forcing all weather stations in Florida to only report sunny weather during hurricane season? Or telling people to ignore infections that become red and swollen?

Morons.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a good time to take a few moments and give thanks to our ancestors who did their best to pass along a better nation to their children.

Memorial Day began three years after the War of the Rebellion ended. Had the South emerged victorious it is my firm belief that the North American continent would have shattered into a balkanized mess of varioius independent or pseudo-independent states, with Great Britain, France and eventually Germany or even Russia probably swooping in to play off various factions over the ensuing decades. That war was a dark time of crisis that ended as well as it could - though a botched Reconstruction hobbled the South for nearly a century after.

It is worth pondering as we enter into this new time of crisis. There will be brighter dawns ahead, but the choices we make now could have enormous impact on the future. Act as wisely as you can. Happy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Meditation for 22 May 2009

A few odds, ends and trends to ponder. A little food for thought over this Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy it, friends, methinks the summer itself could get long and hot by July.

This is a no-brainer, but a trend to check up on. This graph shows Google Trends for "pay off debt." Paying it off instead of taking it on is a deflationary activity that strikes directly at the heart of fractional reserve lending.

Here's worrisome trend: "treat infection"

And then, an odd one that makes me wonder if there is some sort of correlation I should be looking for, like Prechter's stuff on hemlines and stock prices: "boxer shorts"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Anger Meme Percolates

I think Matt Taibbi is on to something here in describing the initial expressions of this massive wave of negative mood as "peasant thinking." I also think it is worth noting that, on occasion, the peasants got a little of their own back, when anger or famine reached a sufficient point.

The peasant mentality lives on in America
by Matt Taibbi
...But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.

I doubt we see a Wat Tyler (personal FutureJacked hero for many reasons) any time soon, but I strongly believe that as the delusions get ripped away later this year when the finance markets re-enter their Death Spiral in a Wave 3 downturn, many will be left stunned into inaction and drooling, mindless whining about the "way things used to be" - like many a Southern Man for decades after Appomattox - unable to digest this radically new world we are entering. Others will be left angry, motivated and with nothing to lose.

Many will "drop out" of this corrupt kleptocracy that has overtaken the Republic, as many did in the corrupt, decayed days of Rome. Other will channel their anger and motivation elsewhere.

You do the math on that one.

h/t Fabius Maximus

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Discussing A Risk

First things first, not to pile on California, but I would strongly suggest that, at least for a few weeks, you put in a news filter of some sort to pull stories from the Golden State that relate to budget cuts and state finances. They are the leading edge of what will become a rash of very, very significant problems with state finances in the U.S. How they handle it will set the template for us all.

I had had a "California DeathWatch" going for awhile, but it was so easy to see this coming and the responses to "fix" the "problem" so absurd that I didn't have the heart to continue it. It was like beating up the Downs kid on the playground, it's just not right to pick on obviously enfeebled individuals.

Now we get to see if the states will, achingly, return to government by adults.

An Object Lesson and Risk

Also, I've hesitated to write too personally here at FutureJacked, but I thought it was time to share a decision made recently and my thought process behind it.

I bought a house.

Yup, after all the snarky comments about "stucco-and-vinyl investment products" and other such, I got a bank to give me a big chunk of cash and dove back into home ownership. After renting since 2001, with all the negative economic news that I still expect, I still went out and took on a mortgage jumped back in.

Why on earth would I do that?

Pros

  1. Well, I now have a small kid. The apartment went from livable to very, very cramped, very quickly. I wanted a fenced-in yard and some space for friends and family to visit or crash for awhile.
  2. Since I haven't owned a house since '01, I count as a "first time home buyer" as does my wife. The federales have promised $8k to any first-timer buying in 2009. Too bad I didn't close before April 15th - I could have received the check this year. We'll see if the Treasury is in good enough shape to follow through with this tax credit this time next year, but it was an inducement.
  3. I got a rate well below 5%.
  4. My payment, with associated taxes, insurance, etc. was less than $100 more than my apartment rent.
  5. I have no, zero, expectations of capital appreciation.
  6. If we had moved out and rented a house, I would have had to worry about the landlord getting foreclosed on.
  7. I worry about access to credit in the near future. Right now a bank was willing to give me a lot of money at a very good rate. I am not sure this would be the case a year from now.
  8. A lot of my thoughts have been centered on the need to have a reasonably tight community to fall back on in hard times. I am very pleased in that respect with this neighborhood - now is it guaranteed to remain a great place? No clue, but there are a lot of paid-for houses around, and a nice mix of older neighbors and younger families.
  9. I wanted more area to try gardening. Container gardening at the apartment was nice and all, but I wanted more area to work with. Problem is I've had to focus on other things and won't get near as much done this year as I'd hoped. That said, I will get to play with cold frames and maybe a small grow dome later in the season.

Cons

  1. I dug into my cash stash, but not too deeply (I hope).
  2. While my job and my wife's job seem secure, obviously they could go once mood returns to the negative furrow it was plowing earlier this year. We have enough to live there for quite some time - assuming access to cash in the bank and the ability to move that money to the mortgage holder, but losing a job or both jobs would obviously hurt.
  3. Even if it is not much higher, it is a higher payment.
  4. Deflation could hang around longer than my ability to hold onto the house if we were to lose both jobs.
  5. I'm locked into this community. Moving away is now much, much harder, so that might affect career choices in the future.
  6. I'm locked into other costs. For instance, the reason I've not been able to provide a couple of in-depth postings I'd planned on this weekend is because we've had sewer problems already. First time in 20 years they've had a problem with this line. It's a City issue, but at the end of the day, money and time will flow from me, into this new purchase. Ugh.

Final Analysis

This was a risky move. It could very well wind up a mistake, but we took a deep breath and did it. The "cons" list is shorter, but the cons are much, much bigger.

I think there is a chunk of the population out there in a similar situation, so I thought I'd outline a few of my thoughts as I went through the process. We shall see.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Meditation for 15 May 2009

A few more Google Trends searches for you to ponder on this Friday. Have a great weekend and continue to enjoy this fun little bear market rally we have burning along.

Here's the trend for Google searches on "debt relief." Not a surprise.

And the "appeal property tax" is probably going to continue along this trendline as well - with direct impact on your local government's bottom line.

Then there is this search for "panic room." I expect home fortifications and defenses will be a growth industry in the coming years.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unintended Consequences

This stuff sounds great and I plan to buy some for my emergency kit, but I've spent a lot of time pondering 4GW Theory, Globalguerrillas and the black humor of the Law of Unintended Consequences and I have to wonder, how soon before this becomes banned for export? After it shows in up Lebanon or Gaza or Sadr City?

Tape Designed to Bomb-, Storm-Proof Homes
Eric Bland, Discovery News
When a hurricane looms, a new tape could soon help homeowners keep their walls from blowing apart. X Flex tape, a clear, Kevlar-reinforced tape tested and developed in conjunction with the U.S. military, is set to become available to civilians within the next year.

"You can paint over it or put wall paper over it," said Abboud Mamish of Berry Plastics Inc. who worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop X Flex. "Putting nails through it [to hang a picture] should not affect its ability to stop a two-by-four going 100 [m.p.h.]."

X Flex is three layers sandwiched together. The outer two layers are standard plastic wrap. Inside that are clear strands of Kevlar, the synthetic fabric used by soldiers for body armor, woven together at a 45 degree angle. The Kevlar strands allow the tape to bend and flex more than six inches but not break, stopping terrorist munitions or Mother Nature's fury...

...Wherever you live, X Flex is easy to install. A 10 x 20 foot wall can be covered in X Flex in about 10 minutes. A proper installation, where a glue primer is applied before the plastic to help it stick better, takes about 20 minutes. After that X Flex is ready to take just about anything Mother Nature or Osama bin Laden can throw at it...

Or the IDF?

Not to harp on books that helped shape my worldview ten or fifteen years ago, but just as the Theory of Megapolitics proposed - the cost of defense is dropping and the ramifications will be immense. This by itself is of course just a tiny little cog in the immense wheel of change grinding over the landscape and, by itself, is probably not significant, but combined with other technologies? Hmmm.

The Chump Phase In Action

Last year we discussed the "Chump Phase" of this crisis on several occasions (see here, here, and here for representative examples). Basically, I described the Chump Phase as:

...What any potential "solutions" to a crashed system have in common is that the active and strong personalities that will be faced with rules suited to the legacy system that by then will have ceased to have a future. We will be in the "Chump Phase" - where the majority of people are still hard-wired to believe in the legacy system and all the attendant laws, regulations and law enforcement techniques. They will be played for chumps - work hard for a corporation, spend lot's on credit cards, don't rock the boat, keep up with the Joneses, buy that big house in the exurbs and oh yeah, by the way, the Man has re-jiggered the bankruptcy laws to make you a debt slave when the economy doesn't allow the majority of workers to grow their income enough to keep up with their debts.

All these social and economic norms that we've been taught for the last few decades will only lead those who adhere to them down a blind alley.

At the same time, there will be a wide variety of behaviors that don't match up well with the legacy system laws. To succeed in this new world, you must adopt new habits, but in adopting new habits, you might get your ass tossed in prison for a variety of property rights violations, drug law infractions and who knows what sorts of affronts to social norms (i.e., polygamy or group "marriages" to build up capital and provide for defense of property and aid in raising children, seizing vacant land to grow food, economic activities that violate current law such as operating bot networks as part of a GlobalGuerrilla "tribe" or growing dope, not paying property taxes, etc.).

It will be a time that you must be nimble and adaptive, but the legacy system will still have tremendous power to hobble you and cage your creativity. It will prove interesting.

We see a little of that in this story out of suburban Kansas City:

Urban chicken movement taking roost in KC area
By Joe Lambe, The Kansas City Star

Chickens could be coming to roost in a backyard near you.

Across the country and the metropolitan area, people are joining the national urban chicken movement, sometimes turning outlaw to raise the birds...

...Four years ago, another Overland Park family tried to get [a permit to grow chickens in their subdivision]. By a vote of 7-5, the City Council wouldn’t allow it.

Opponents said then that chickens did not belong in Overland Park. Some said the birds were unsanitary.

Overland Park City Councilman Jim Hix, who voted against the chickens in 2005, said this week that he would probably do so again.

“Wanting eggs is not unique,” he said. “It’s not a good idea to have chickens in a suburban area under normal circumstances...”

"Normally" none of us would want a neighbor to have a yard full of chickens. "Normally" the uptight suburbanites of OP, Kansas would have good arguments on their side - such as the sanitary conditions argument or effect on house prices (that always go up). In a former life I lived in the suburb right next to Overland Park, in a nice big McMansion that looked like all the others on the street (so much so that I pulled into the wrong driveway multiple times in the first six months I lived there, seriously) and know their mindset. The chickens will be banned and all will be well and if we just wish enough and count our mustard seeds, all will return to "normal" soon.

What Councilman Hix, and millions of city, county, state and federal government officials - and the shiny happy investors in suburban vinyl & sheetrock castles - don't get is that these are not "normal circumstances."

Normal, as defined by expecting the world to behave in the coming 20 years as it did in the previous 20, is dead. Normal is a zombie striding the land, devouring the brains of city planners and citizens in humble shacks to big McMansions, preventing them from processing the data right in front of their eyes that screams "make big changes to your lifestyles now!" Normal is gone. In a few years cities will be passing ordinances to encourage, if not force, residents to grow a portion of their own food and meat. But probably not today. We are in this gray hell of the Chump Phase, first movers beware and have a Marrano Option in place, just in case...

Yet Another Brick in the Wall

The screaming alarm bells continue to sound while the majority of the public continues to participate in this brief corrective phase of positive mood. Here is an example of how the U.S. continues to speed down the highway towards full-blown Banana Republic status:

Japan 'would avoid dollar bonds'
from the BBC
Japan's opposition party says it would refuse to buy American government bonds denominated in US dollars, if elected.

The chief finance spokesman of the Democratic Party of Japan, Masaharu Nakagawa, told the BBC he was worried about the future value of the dollar.

Japan has been a major buyer of US government bonds, helping the US finance its Federal budget deficits.

But, he added, it would continue to buy bonds only if they were denominated in yen - the so-called samurai bonds.

"If it's [in] yen, it's going to be all right," Mr Nakagawa said in an interview with the BBC World Service. "We propose that we would buy [the US bonds], but it's yen, not dollar..."

Now, let's not read too much into the article - this is just an opposition party making waves. But in times of economic turmoil, governments can fall and the opposition can become the majority. And if this theme is well-received in Japan, we very well could see the U.S. being forced to issue foreign-currency denominated bonds.

Then there is this:

Dollar Could Slump on AAA Rating Fears: Analyst
from CNBC
As talk of the United States' ability to keep its AAA rating resurfaced Wednesday, one analyst told CNBC that the impact could be prove a major drag on the strength of the dollar.

Concerns over the rating reemerged as David Walker, chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former comptroller general of the US, wrote in an opinion piece in the FT that the US government’s top tier rating could be at risk...

For those of you with the stones and stomach to play around in the currency markets, it might not be the worst thing to check out the Free Week that EWI is offering for their FOREX products. I've not used their FOREX products, so can't speak to their track record - but if you dabble in the world, you might check it out.

The usual caveat - I do get a small credit for new (and only new) people who sign up to view the free service. If this is not agreeable to you, please go to the EWI site directly (not through a link here) and then proceed to sign up. These are valuable products being given away for free. Free is good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Local Government Tax Base Cratering

Ugly. And this isn't going to get any better, any time soon:

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government: State Revenue Report
...Total tax revenue declined in 35 states in the fourth quarter, with six states seeing double digit declines. All regions except for the Plains region saw declines in total state tax collections, with the Far West seeing the largest decline at 7.6 percent. In the Plains region, revenue growth was weak, at 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter...

At the very least, glance through the report and check out the graphs.

I recall the old adage from back in the Tech Bubble years, the mantra that the freshly scrubbed, well dressed boys and girls would repeat over and over on CNBC: "the trend is your friend." Well, the real quote should have been: "staying on the right side of the trend is your friend."

h/t Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Out For A Few Days

FYI, I'll be away from the computer for several days and hopefully back to blogging by Monday.

I do have a couple of Google Trends to share before I go:

Not unexpectedly - as the recession begins to bite, so do searches for the phrase "eat cheap."

Thankfully, however, searches for "soylent green" have remained static. So far...

First Impressions: The Socionomist

As most of you know, we here at FutureJacked use Socionomics as our primary model for interpreting the swirl of events around us and to forecast what might await us in the future. In my opinion, the Socionomics model provides a great "reality check" against the "news" and hype that spins out from our televisions, computers, radios and rumor. While I may not always use this model in the best or most orthodox manner, I regard it as a must-have tool in my toolbox when planning or pondering the future.

So, naturally, when Elliott Wave International began offering a monthly subscription-based socionomics newsletter, The Socionomist, I signed up. I thought I'd give you a review of this inaugural issue.

The Newsletter

The newsletter itself is layed out like the Elliott Wave Theorist and the Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. It runs 10 pages and is laced with interesting and useful (in my opinion) charts and graphics. There is the standard self-referencing to research done previously in other EWI products as well as referencing of work from other researchers. If you subscribe to EWT or EWFF, the format will look very familiar.

I am especially a fan of the charts and like the overlay of the Socionomic data and stock price data.

The extras that you can get include a 2 hour DVD of Robert Prechter giving a talk at the London School of Economics. The DVD hasn't arrived yet, so I have no report on it.

What I Liked From Issue #1

Right out of the gate, The Socionomist is timely. The lead story is a 6 page article entitled "A Socionomic View of Epidemic Disease." Sweet. Just in time for the Swine Flu.

The very first graphic of this very first issue is an interesting overlay of the Dow/PPI yearly average since the late 1800's overlayed with with Bear Market phases and major outbreaks of epidemic disease. The article itself (Part 1 of 2) is a succinct overview of epidemic disease as seen through a socionomics lense. Good stuff, if not earth-shatteringly original for those of us who've kept up with socionomic theory. I really look forward to Part 2, which "will include a list of recommendations for protecting yourself against epidemics."

There is an article skyscrapers and social mood. While this is a familiar topic for those of us who've followed it, there are some interesting updates from the big projects planned for the Persian Gulf region and a couple of nice graphics.

One very interesting article entitled "Have We Seen the Peak in Radical Islam?" This is a fascinating topic and one I may take up here at FutureJacked in the coming weeks. It draws on some of the very interesting work that Mark Galasiewski is doing with Asian markets. This broke some new ground and I look forward to following this developing trend.

The newsletter wraps up with "Signs of Shifting Mood" and brings together a number of anecdotes that try to illustrate this amorphous thing we call "social mood."

All in all I was pleased with the product. I especially like the main article on epidemic disease and the one-pager on radical Islam. These are fertile fields for more work.

I am also glad to see them floating a subscription-based product to complement the free "Progress in Socionomics." While I am not thrilled to be paying for it, I do hope and assume the cash will help fund the Socionomics Institute and lead to research and development of "harder" socionomics tools such as better indicies or gauges of social mood.

What I'd Like to See in the Future

The overall feel was one of familiarity. If you do not subscribe to the financial products from EWI, then this is not an issue. What I do hope The Socionomist does avoid is becoming an Elliott Wave Theorist Light. I think they have a large enough stable of researchers and writers to avoid it.

I'd also like to see case studies in applying socionomics in the real world. For those of us who might be interested in starting a business, getting into a new line of work, who have a desire to create art, etc., having examples of the types of activities that got off the ground and thrived in certain social mood environments (or, better yet, failed during one phase of social mood, but suceeded after mood changed - the life of Napoleon Hill seems to be a good illustration - gotta remember that for a future FutureJacked posting as well...)

Only having one issue to go on limits what I can say about The Socionomist, but knowing the track record of other offerings from EWI - and the direct, personal benefit I've gained from those products - I feel comfortable saying that I think The Socionomist will be an interesting newsletter that provides interesting reading and useful, actionable observation.

Overall, I regard this as a product worth your money. My view of Socionomics is that it is a great way to map out the general terrain of the coming future. Knowing the general location of minefields and having a map to safe harbors and the fertile fields of new growth cannot guarantee success, but it can sure help stack the odds in your favor.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Suckers' Rally, Illustrated

The Onion describes the current rally quite nicely:

Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again
WASHINGTON—After nearly four months of frank, honest, and open dialogue about the failing economy, a weary U.S. populace announced this week that it is once again ready to be lied to about the current state of the financial system.

Tired of hearing the grim truth about their economic future, Americans demanded that the bald-faced lies resume immediately, particularly whenever politicians feel the need to divulge another terrifying problem with Wall Street, the housing market, or any one of a hundred other ticking time bombs everyone was better off not knowing about.

In addition, citizens are requesting that the phrase, "It will only get worse before it gets better," be permanently replaced with, "Things are going great. Enjoy yourselves."

"I thought I wanted a new era of transparency and accountability, but honestly, I just can't handle it," Ohio resident Nathan Pletcher said. "All I ever hear about now is how my retirement has been pushed back 15 years and how I won't be able to afford my daughter's tuition when she grows up."

"From now on, just tell me the bullshit I want to hear," Pletcher added. "Tell me my savings are okay, everybody has a job, and we're No. 1 again. Please, just lie to my face..."

Not a bad description of a Primary Second Wave in action.

A Dark Thought for Monday

Reading this story about inmates being trained as coal miners sparked a train of thought that pulled into a rather dark station.

The story is actually optimistic - training inmates for gainful employment in the formal economy is a good thing. But as we peer over the precipice and down into the abyss of a decline on a scale not seen since the early 1700's, I wonder how this infrastructure - that of training inmates to do labor while incarcerated as well as provide "skills" for formal employment once they are released - will we warped or modified in an era of constrained resources and an angry, pessimistic populace that has seen its capital stock dry up and blow away like a fart in the wind.

I recalled the paper Economics of Slavery in the Ante Bellum South, authored by Alfred H. Conrad and John R. Meyer, in which they take a view of the vile practice of slavery through the cold lense of accounting - and found it a profitable, sustainable practice for certain agricultural (and even industrial) contexts.

How big of a leap might it be to move from unofficial wage or debt slavery as practiced today, to chattel slavery? Corporations anxious to preserve capital and have access to labor in a time where, at least in agriculture, we will almost certainly see a need for more intensive ag practices (as the petroleum fuels, pesticides and natural gas fertilizers become expensive and/or hard to obtain consistently) are not known for their compassion or caring natures, being non-human entities with special legal privileges.

We already have private prisons churning out goods made by below-market wage earners. How much of a leap is it to say that these inmates must "work off" their debt to society not only by time served, but by forced labor to "earn their keep?" And if the "cost" of earning their keep is not worked off by the time their sentence is up? Well, I imagine a creative corporate lawyer could find plenty of precedent to keep them in chains.

And think about how it could evolve from other practices. How about a reformed bankruptcy law that made future generations liable for the debts of their fathers? And of course, you have to make sure they are watched so they don't run off. But of course we want to take care of these assets, I mean, debtors, so we lodge them in the dorms of a bankrupt college and rename it the MasterCharge Campus, and put them to work on our new Green Permaculture Project - giving them skills, you know, for their own good. And if a few try to run off, well, we have to hunt them down and taser them, or put a shock collar on them, but it is not slavery, just a work contract...

I leave you with this passage from Conrad and Meyer's paper:

...Finally, there are two economic arguments about slavery and potential southern growth to be considered. The assertion that slavery per se was inimical to economic growth rests in part upon the alleged inefficiency of slave labor in industrial pursuits and in part upon the loss of capital that might otherwise have gone into industrialization and diversification. The inefficiency argument is not supported very securely. There were slaves employed in cotton factories throughout the South. Slaves were used in the coal mines and in the North Carolina lumbering operations. In the ironworks at Richmond and on the Cumberland River, slaves comprised a majority of the labor force. Southern railroads were largely built by southern slaves. Crop diversification, or the failure to achieve diversification, appears to have been a problem of entrepreneurship rather than of the difficulties of training slaves. In the face of the demand for cotton and the profits to be had from specializing in this single crop, it is hardly difficult to explain the single-minded concentration of the planter...

...In sum, it seems doubtful that the South was forced by bad statesmanship into an unnecessary war to protect a system which must soon have disappeared because it was economically unsound. This is a romantic hypothesis which will not stand against the facts...

We have been warned.

NOTE: This is a controversial topic and let's get a few things straight - I am not an apologist for slavery. It was a vile practice and warped not just the South, but the entire early Republic. I have no sympathy for those who apologize for it, such as neo-Confederates or those who opposed it in a self-righteous manner such as damn Yankees whose forefathers introduced slavery to the South, profited from it immensely and then, when they decided they couldn't turn a buck on it anymore, decided it was immoral and launched a war that despoiled half the nation - instead of finding a solution that involved staged emancipation paid for in part by Northern funds. The elites of the 1850's were as idiotic, short-sighted and immature as the ones we are saddled with today.

The paper by Conrad and Meyer was and is very controversial and has been for 50 years. Many scholars dispute their findings. I don't care to get into the details of academic cat-fighting and while the cold nature of the analysis is a bit disturbing, it is a necessary exercise that we be reminded that the nice happy thought that slavery would have collapsed on its own may just be wishful thinking to help avoid the hard action of dismantling it.

This is a WARNING, nothing else. Slavery isn't gone, even today. It has been mostly eradicated during this Grand Supercycle Bull Market in positive mood that has stretched for nearly four centuries. We must remain on guard that it does not return during the coming huge, angry Bear Market.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Meditation for 1 May 2009

I have no idea what it means, but it can't be good. ;) As mood deteriorates and markets fall, Google Searches for "Hello Kitty" increase...

According to socionomics, we can expect to see an uptick in violence. It could mean we are headed here:

Image courtesy Nemesis Project

Have a good weekend and enjoy the next few weeks, hopefully months, of rallying markets and a less fearful and angry political and social scene.