The USA has gone so crazy in these months of the coronavirus freak-out that an orgy of looting, arson, and murder, on top of epic job loss and business failure, propelled the stock markets up-up-and-away back to near-record highs.
Makes sense, right?
The market came down a bit towards the end of the week, but don’t worry. The Fed will make another announcement that it’s going to do something or other and presto, the market will be off to the races again.
In the background of these weeks of protests, riots, looting, and arson is the disintegrating economy, which signifies that pretty much everybody in this land will not be able to keep on keeping on in the ways we’re used to.
Reduced Living Standards
Everybody will have a harder time making a living. Everybody will endure shocking losses in wealth, status, and comfort. And, sadly, everybody will be too perplexed and bamboozled by the rush of events to understand why.
The short version of that story is we’ve overshot our resources, especially the basic energy resources that all other activities require.
This mystifies the public, too, but you can boil it down to the cost of getting oil out of the ground being too high for customers and not high enough for the oil producers to cover their costs — a quandary.
One result has been the rapid bankruptcy of the shale oil industry. Another is the incremental impoverishment of what used to be America’s broad middle-class — a malady that has, just for now, fenced off the denizens of Wall Street, the notorious One Percent (of the population), who still luxuriate in zooming share prices and dividends while everybody else sucks wind in a ditch with-or-without the added affliction of Covid-19.
The perplexed and bamboozled include the entire leadership nucleus of the land, who seem starkly unable to act coherently in the tightening vortex of crisis.
Beware the 4th of July
Events are rushing ahead at a pace you can barely follow. Summer is underway and why, now, would you expect any lessening in civil disorders?
The summer heat is always an invitation to raucous behavior on the steamy streets. Have Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi appealed to their followers to end their violence?
Maybe I missed that. They are hinting at a return to Covid-19 lockdown conditions — but you can forget about anyone following that when the temperature tops ninety degrees (and certainly the Dem leadership knows that).
Meanwhile, the devastation of small business, careers, livelihoods, households, and futures continues.
Then, there’s the sinister joker-in-the-deck next week. It’s called the Fourth of July. It’s hard to imagine a fatter target for those who are truly intent on making things as bad as possible than that particular holiday. Hey, they’ve already torn down statues of George Washington.
What else is left to trash?
Take measures to protect your own future, as far as possible. Put your energy into imagining how you can be helpful to other people, and perhaps incidentally earn their trust and their assistance in mutually beneficial ways.
Think about finding a plausible place to live where the rule of law perseveres. Think about how you might fit into an economy run at a smaller scale. Start taking action on that thinking.
There’s potential for a lot of people to get hurt in the disorders-to-come.
There’s plenty you can do to not be one of them.
James Howard Kunstler
for The Daily Reckoning