Please consider supporting our efforts.
Explanations for the results of the recent U.S. Presidential Elections abound: improper messaging on the part of the Romney ticket, a lack of inclusiveness on the part of the Republican Party, simple tribalism as a result of changing demographics, a belief in Santa Claus, or a combination thereof. A French philosopher once observed that “Nations get the Governments they deserve” and the history of the Western World since the end of the Second World War has been for Nations to elect Governments that allow people to enjoy lifestyles they are unwilling to fully work for. There have been, of course, exceptions, particularly in the U.S. which might have slowed the trends, but broadly speaking, these are mere bumps on the road which neither changed nor altered the greater trends towards increasing the size of the welfare state, and by extension, their corresponding Governments. The recent election represents the popular approval of the growth of entitlements, or as some have more colorfully labeled it: “Santa Claus”.
Often, when one party expresses an opinion in favor of the benefits of acquiring gold, the opposing side will express disapproval with the glib retort: “You can’t eat gold.” Intended to convey a practical perspective, this flippant response betrays a breathtaking level of historic economic ignorance, and I would argue, a poor ability to quantify future risk vis-à-vis the coming financial collapse and ensuing struggles.
The problem is simple to identify: a politician’s primary purpose in life is not to represent his constituents or pass laws or social engineer (though he does these things to various degrees), but rather, it is to get re-elected and augment his power. Barring the occasional exception which does not disprove the rule, this is a universal truth even in our formerly Constitutional-revering Republic. When viewed through this lens, the long and gradual process perverting the American system of Government and property rights becomes clear.
The unseen glue which holds the credit system and the Western World together is trust. We take it for granted and do not consider how it affects every aspect of our lives. What has traditionally separated the West (particularly the English-speaking World) from the Third World is the strength of contract law and the general faith that there will be enforcement of penalties meted out through judicial process to those who break their bond. This trust has been eroding more recently at a rate which is becoming more apparent even to the non-observer.
There is a primal and inevitable force at play in the World Economy that is much larger than any politician or government can deal with effectively. I have often commented that regardless of who won the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, this Primal Force would work itself out to its final conclusion and change the World’s economy and monetary system as we know it. The only difference is that the guy who won is taking us there much sooner than I thought possible. It is a concept so simple and easy that only an economist cannot understand it: debt.