Bad economic times may beat back some symptoms of the epidemic, such as plastic surgery and outsize materialism. But if we had to wager, we would bet against the countertrends and on the spread of the narcissism epidemic. Most of the root causes of the epidemic are well-entrenched. There is another possibility, however—one that is even more frightening: The narcissism epidemic could be reversed during a major economic and social upheaval. The narcissism epidemic itself might cause this social collapse. The financial crisis of 2008 might be only the first step of narcissistic overconfidence bringing down long-established institutions. So far, it has only spawned a new era of entitlement with government bailouts, but if these don’t work and the whole economy is infected, things could get very ugly.
==The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell)
Global crises now encompass almost every sphere of human activity – social, political, economic, cultural, ethical and psychological. As these crises escalate, they are increasingly likely to aggravate one another over the coming years and decades. Expert projections suggest that the following problems – climate change, hydrocarbon energy depletion, water and resource scarcity relative to exponential population growth, declining food production, inter- and intrastate conflict, escalating impoverishment and inequalities, growing instabilities in the global economy, social malaise and declines in well-being, the legitimization of far-right politics, and normalization of political violence – do not only follow their own individual developmental trajectories, but are inherently interconnected. Global crises are not aberrations from an optimized global system which require only minor adjustments to policy; they are integral to the ideology, structure and logic of the global political economy.
==A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed)
I have been accused over the past few years of being a Cassandra of doom, which, given the absurd central bank and media induced euphoria among the worlds markets and investment punditry over the years after I turned radically bearish, the end of 2006, is a totally understandable designation. However, it does bear to remember that Cassandra was ultimately proven to have been right.
It is also correct to mention that Pyrrhic victories can still leave one cold, shivering and destitute. I know this to be true, for having most of my life reveled in the pig trough of Wall Street’s financial Möbius strip of wealth creation, following upon a privileged Park Avenue birth and private boarding schools from the age of 10, I now am struggling to pay my rent, phone bills and even feed the two likely reasons I am still alive, my Labradoodles, Maddox and Cleo.
All that being said, and full disclosure is appropriate I think, even if the powerful behind the scenes manipulators of markets and illusionists of a totally false economic “recovery” are able to drive financial markets higher once again, I can only tell you that you are playing a fools game in the markets against a house that will eventually eat you alive and have you exit in a very unpleasant, odious fashion.
As a student of markets, history and a seeker of the truth behind the fog of propaganda, lies and truly astoundingly complex illusions from the self-dealing masters of our servitude, I can only say that, in my humble opinion, there has never been a greater or more dangerous financial, economic and political bubble than the one we are now within. There may not be any true safe haven, financially or even physically, but if you do not have at least the safety of your mind, of your self-will, with clarity of vision of what is the current reality and the likely path that we are heading down, you will truly drown.
I have been a rabid deflationist and I remain so. There simply is no way to keep this debt balloon in the air. This is particularly so when the vast amount of wealth created over the past five years has accrued to far less than 1% of America’s and the world’s population. We are being robbed with the expectations of either continued brain dead, lobotomized docility or martial law and FEMA internment camps as the elites final redoubt. We, the people, hold the power. At some point we had better exert it.
The UK and US economies may be on the mend at last, but that’s not the pattern elsewhere. On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards, and eventual mass default.
I exaggerate only a little in depicting this apocalyptic view of the future as the conclusion of the latest “Geneva Report”, an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers of the big challenges facing the global economy.
Aptly titled “Deleveraging? What Deleveraging?”, the report points out that, far from paying down debt since the financial crisis of 2008/9, the world economy as a whole has in fact geared up even further. The raw numbers make explosive reading.
Contrary to widely held assumptions, the world has not yet begun to de-lever. In fact global debt-to-GDP – public and private non financial debt – is still growing, breaking new highs by the month.